10 Australian Book Bloggers to Follow

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Feature image from HENWISESPEAKS

There seems to be a great many writers blogging online.  But how can we find them.  They seem to be hidden away in secret places online and are very hard to unearth.

A big list of people with a little review of why you might want to read them.  Writers who are reviewing work, blogging about literature and contributing to the online writing dialogue.

James Bradley, CITY OF TONGUES

Sam Van Sweeden, LITTLE GIRL WITH A BIG PEN

Angela Meyer, LITERARY MINDED

Why Do I Only Get Queries From Dudes?

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Feature image from TIMEWALKERII

So, I review books.

My details are on a number of different websites, including this one, outlining how indie authors and writers can get in contact with me about reviewing their work.  Authors send me queries, which include details of their novels, and they ask me if I would be interested in reviewing their work.  I say yes to as many reviews as I can.

I receive one or two requests each day.  Many of these I turn down due to time restrictions or a disinterest in the blurb of the book.  But I read every request, consider it and respond.  I have a REVIEW POLICY that helps me choose the books I will consider for review.

I decided that I would always give preference to Indie Australian Female writers as that is my community, and you need to support your own.  The only thing is, they never write to me – Ever.  Since I started receiving queries for book reviews I have only ever been contacted by male writers. Continue reading

EWF15 – Inside the Publishing House

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On the 29th of May 2015, I went inside a publishing house, metaphorically speaking.  As part of the EMERGING WRITERS’ FESTIVAL, I was able to attend a Publishing Masterclass with one of Australia’s largest and most successful publishing houses, HACHETTE AUSTRALIA.  Here’s what I learnt, straight from the Hachette’s mouth.

Submitting Your work

When submitting your manuscript to a publisher, be clear, direct and slightly business like.  You need to convey an awareness of what you’re selling.  ‘This is the book, this is the type of book it is and this is the hook.  That’s all we need to know.’

Getting Rejected

There are a number of reasons why a publisher will say no to a manuscript.  Firstly the manuscript might actually be very bad or nowhere near publication.  Alternatively, it might have potential, but the publisher is already working on a similar manuscript.  The manuscript might be in direct competition with a writer the publisher has already signed.  It might also have a lot of potential, but the publisher simply does not have time to get the work ready for publication. Continue reading

Publishers and Literary Gatekeepers

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What are Literary Gatekeepers?

In the writing world, I am sure you have heard the comment that publishers are the literary world’s gatekeepers.  Gatekeepers control passage through a certain gate.  This gate may be literal or metaphorical.  In literature, gatekeepers are the people who decide who and what gets published when.

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FIGURE A

Let’s take this metaphor further.  To be a gatekeeper, one must have a gate.  And for this gate to be successful in it’s function, it must be firmly attached to a wall or fence.  The gatekeeper remains at their post until a person wishes to pass through this gate.  The gatekeeper is in charge of deciding wether said applicant meets the necessary criteria to access the other side of the wall/fence.  See Figure A * Continue reading

Understanding the Industry, Why you should write a series

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It is so important for writers to know and understand the market that they are in or about to enter.  It is common sense and good business strategy to know your competition, your situation and the climate of the industry.  So lets pull it apart a little and have a look at the cycle of sales and some dependable trends.

Why do people buy books

Why do people keep buying books?  Despite the many times you’ve heard that the publishing business is dead, it just doesn’t seem to lay down and die.

People don’t need to buy new books, they can get books for free or very cheaply second hand.  Instead of buying an book people can borrow them from libraries, download them from torrent sites, or they can steal them from a friend.  Secondhand book stores a full of 50 cent bargains market stalls always have great books.  In a question posted on Quora about why people continue to buy books, the responses were interesting but certainly not surprising.

Firstly, people keep buying books because they love them.  They buy books to have them and to hold them.  They buy books to write in them, take notes and underline passages.  People buy books to keep as souvenirs, to remember events and holidays, and as gifts for loved ones.  People buy books because they love to collect them, lend them to friends and fill their houses with them.

One response even went so far as to say, ‘I buy books that I want to own.  There are books that I find so interesting and beautiful that I want them to be a part of my life.’

But people are not just buying books for themselves.  A huge percentage of publishers and book sellers revenue comes from the Book Gift Market.  The Book Gift Market makes a lot more sense when you start to look at when people buy books.  

When do people buy books

In an article by Anthony Wessel titled, The Cycle of Book Sales he breaks down a few of the trends in book selling.  It is interesting to see that for most of the year (approximately 46 weeks) booksellers sell the same amount of books.  That means that week to week, and year after year, the same number of books are being sold.

When trying to sell your own book, you are not trying to persuade a buyer to purchase your book, but rather, you are trying to influence them to buy your book instead of another book.

The remaining 6 weeks of the year is the holiday season covering the lead up to christmas and into the new year (also thanks giving in the USA).  During these six weeks, book sales increase.

‘What we can see from this is that marketing and promotion of a book does not increase the over all number of books sold that week, but only influences the buyers choice.’

Christmas period is the time that accounts for the gift market.  The gift market is an area of sales that Ebooks and online readers just can not compete with.  People do not give each other file downloads for christmas, they give real life printed books.

they give beautiful books, with inscriptions on the inside cover, they give inspirational books and cook books and coffee table books, and people have continued to do this through the online book selling storm and the rise of self publishing.

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After looking at the top selling books for 2014, one thing is clear.  Series’ Sells!  More than half of the top selling books from 2014 where from a series.

12 of the Top 20 books sold online from Amazon and 11 of the Top 20 books sold in stores from the bookseller Barnes & Noble where from an established series of books.  Four of the books made up the complete Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

What is it about a series that compels people to keep going, to read the last book anyway when they didn’t really like the last one.  to keep going.

Thinking of a series reminds me of the Bronze Horseman series.  So many of my friends read the third book when none of us even like the second.  Why?  something enticing about the completed set, about knowing what happens, finishing, finalising everything.

 

The Top 10 Selling Books of 2014 on Amazon

Here it is.  As 2014 comes to a close it is time to look back on the year of books that was.  Depressingly, you should not look through Amazon to analyse the year of books and publishing, it will only depress you.

1. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

2. Frozen Little Golden Book by Victoria Saxon – MOVIE

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – MOVIE

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

5. Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliott

6. The Heroes of Olympus, Book Five by Rick Riordan

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth

8. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young

9. The Fault in Our Stars (Hardcover) by John Green – MOVIE

10. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Interesting isn’t it?

Pitching Your Work for Publication #pitchbitch

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#pitchbitch

Have you heard about Pitch, Bitch?  I first saw a tweet that contained the hashtag #pitchbitch at the Emerging Writers Festival 2014.  It was an interview with Estelle Tang for Kill Your Darlings about an initiative to promote and encourage women to pitch their work for publication.

Since reading about Pitch, Bitch online, I’ve discovered a lot of publishers and editors are getting involved too.  The pitch, bitch tumblr has great interviews with editors on what not to do.  They are encouraging women to stop everything and sit down for one day a month to work on their pitches, bitches.

What is it?

Continue reading

Organising that trip to Melbourne

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For 6 Nights, I will be swapping this view…

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 …for this view.

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Three days to Go!  Now I am going to be honest with you, I don’t much care for big cities at the moment – but I very much like Emerging Writers and I am very into Festivals, So… I will make an exception.

I have been living on the Far South Coast of NSW for the last four months and have become very used to the pace of things down here (Up here I guess?).  People drive slowly and everyone talks about the surf; waiters moonlight as prawn fishermen and everyone in the whole town wants to see photos from my wedding.  Everyone is someone here.

Traveling Solo

So I am bracing myself for Melbourne – Where no one will talk to me in the supermarket and people wont recognise my car.  Actually, I am a little worried about heading to the Festival on my own.

Normally I would be with some literary enthusiast friend who will come with me to hear strange readings of absurdest poetry or drink coffee with me during breaks at the writers centre.  Nope!  Not this time!  Just me.  It will be just like that time I was left on Pier 2 @ Sydney Writers Festival because my best friend had to go to her mothers birthday party or something?  Where was the loyalty?  Just suddenly go very nervous about making friends in Melbourne.

Things that are incredibly less fun to do on your own include playing Uno (funny really considering the name) going to Writers Festivals in other cities, getting lost in other cities, dropping tiny cakes in cafes only to instinctively flick it back up onto the plate with your knee, leaving you thrilled and impressed and turning on the spot hoping someone else saw it, cause no body will believe you (or care) when you tell them later.

Must remember not to do any sort of  impressive small-cake acrobatics while I’m away – will only lead to sadness.

I fly down to Melbourne on Thursday afternoon.  Thank goodness my home town has an airport!

Things to do before I go
  1. Look for MyKi Card from last trip to Melbourne.
  2. Pack (Walked into laundry just then and realised this would be greatly facilitated by washing clothes first)
  3. Wash clothes.
  4. Pack.
  5. Check email about how I get my tickets.
  6. Book Accommodation.
  7. Investigate the coffee at the Wheelers Centre.
  8. Download last Ep of Mad Men to watch on the plane.
  9. Verbalise desire to borrow a bike for 6 nights and see if I can manifest one.
  10. Ask Friends & Family if anyone is friends with Hannah Kent?

Im pretty sure getting around will be easy enough in Melbourne.  Between the trains, trams and foot traffic potential I am not too worried about getting to where I need to go.  Have just been reading article from #ewf14  Getting around Melbourne Guide‘ and everything looks close together.  I am hoping I can get my walking feet on actually.

Ok time to get serious!

 

 

Amazon’s most popular book of 2013

Have heard of it?

It might surprise you to learn that the most popular book of 2013 was a self help non-fiction.

I was shocked this afternoon to discover that I had never heard of the most popular Amazon book for 2013.  Strength Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath.

This book has been downloaded more times than any other book this year!

I found it when I started doing a little Christmas Shopping today. I usually look through all the top sellers lists, such as CD, Dvd’s and Books, to get a few ideas for the family.

Emerging writers diary, Strength Finder

Strength Finder 2.0 is a follow up to a very popular book that came out in 2001 – Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths to building a great life, this book and accompanying website ‘will change the way you look at yourself–and the world around you–forever.’

I am pretty keen to read it now!

I wonder – If I missed the most popular book of 2013, what else have I over looked this year?  When I consider the volume of books, novels and Ebooks printed and released every year – I am over whelmed.  How will I ever read all that material?  What will I miss out on, because there is just not enough time?

Strength Finder 2.0 cover, Amazon bestseller 2013

Buy luminaries online

 

Adding ‘Writer’ to your Facebook Profile

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Did you know that your Online Profile does accurately depict you – no matter how much you try to fake it?

If you thought that you were fooling any one with your Facebook profile, think again.

In most online situations you get to pick and choose the information you want to reveal. You get to select the most attractive photos of yourself to post and you can edit and revise your comments before you make them. But…surprisingly, one study discovered that Facebook profiles are actually quite good at conveying your real personality.

And viewers of your profile are very good at accurately reading you from it.

People Can Accurately Judge Your Personality Based on Your Profile

In the study, researchers looked at 236 profiles of 236. The participants also filled out questionnaires designed to measure personality traits. Observers then rated the personalities of the participants based on their online profiles, and these observations were compared to the results of the personality questionnaires. The researchers found that observers were able to get an accurate read on a person’s personality based on their Facebook profile.

Viewers of your profile trust and respect the information you are providing.

People will only ever take you as seriously as you take yourself.

So come on Emerging Writers… Change it the moment you decide to pursue writing full time.  Must be a complete transition.

‘I am petrified but I am going to do it anyway’

The Emerging WriterToday I am Changing my Job to Writer – After a lot of time telling people in my life I am a writer, today I am going to change my occupation on Facebook.  Big Deal!

Ok – I did it.

Oh my god – that was horrible.  I wish I could delete it…

NO!  It is all part of the change.  I need to pull my shit together, no one will even see it, this is for my own wellbeing.

So I did it.  I got such a positive response.  Some of my friends did not even realise I had started writing and sent me texts to ask how I was going.  It’s a great way to let people show they support you.  I have just realized something about Facebook.  You tend to only get two responses on Facebook.  Either people like your work and write something encouraging – OR – they ignore you.  All the people you hate and all the people who hate you, your not friends with and therefore…Don’t reply.

Your task – Log in to Facebook right now and Change Your Job.  

Then let me know how it felt…