Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Writers. Read…

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

“Change is inevitable. Progress is optional.” ~ Toni Robbins.

kicking cans

Should Barnes & Noble and punt their forever-failing self-publishing selves?

Read more HERE.

No, really, if you’re a writer, publisher, agent, editor, READ.

Barnes & Noble breaking from Nook…

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Barnes and & Noble spinning the Nook to its own business unit that will be separately traded going forward, and possibly sold to a private investor as soon as 2015?


Not unexpected, but still very sad.

Publishing is forever changing, and what works today might be the worst possible solution to tomorrow’s problem. We all know that.

But when a book selling giant like B&N (or Borders or Waldenbooks or, say, Harlequin or Penguin or…) can’t make the business work, no matter how hard they try (or stumble around, as the case has been much of the last five years of lightening-fast shifts in the book industry’s retail playing field), it’s time for writers to pause, take stock of their personal business models, and update every last thing we can to be forward-facing, rather than excessively reactive and behind the curve.

Ban My Ass…

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

I love books, and I love reading. And Readers, I LOVE you; I do. But to quote J. K. Rowling, ” A very famous writer once said, ‘A book is like a mirror. If a fool looks in, you can’t expect a genius to look out.’”

JK Rowling

Don’t read to criticize.

Don’t troll the Net looking for someone to take down (or with intent to take down, on someone else’s behalf).

Bad reviews and uprisings to ban and heated debates over who’s worse than whom leave me cold. I’ve been guilty in the past. I have definite opinions about what I read. But why tear an author or a book down, I’ve realized, simply because you’re not a fan. Or is the urge about something else: something lacking within or a sense of ill use or, “that’s not fair,” or, “why her?”

For whatever reason you dislike an author or a series or a book, by all means discuss your opinion.

But to those to rip and tear and shriek that something isn’t for them, I say, “Move on.” Just move on. Rant on, and you’re just making yourself look silly.

Duly noted, your dislike. Thanks for the feedback. But if it’s your job, in your own mind, to tell us how you’d have written the story differently–you know, the story that someone else imagined into being well enough for you to at least want to read it in the first place–then find someone else whose purpose in life is to tear at another’s creativity (I suspect because of a lack thereof within you), dig a whole, and pour all your poop in ’til your heart’s content.

The rest of us don’t care.

Or we shouldn’t care. (more…)

Where do you buy your books? A statistical rant.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Where do you buy your books?

I’ve heard in author discussion recently that the publishing press and the traditional publishers they front for want us to still buy that 70% of all books sold are still sold in bricks and mortar stores.

If they’re talking about only print books, and maybe hard cover books or best-selling authors (and I mean the ones who sell millions of copies of each release), then, yeah, I’ll buy that. And if you’re one of those authors who can score a decent hard cover print run or for whom it doesn’t matter where you sign your next contract you’ll sell because you’re already branded, then New York must seem quite flattering and attractive for you.

old books

If you’re mid-list author or a newbie, or even some of the best-selling authors I know (who’ve for years been hitting lists left and right and USED to score tasty hard cover print runs but not so much anymore), you aren’t buying the above statistic any more than I am. Because you live in the real world where digital is the new mid-list, mass market platform and traditional publishers have no clue how to make digital publishing work except for the branded, and for the branded the money’s still in physical stores.

In the real world, at least in commercial fiction,we want to see our books in stores, but we know that 70% of our sales won’t happen there. At least we hope not, because print distribution more than sucks, it’s becoming non-existent.

I write for Amazon. Montlake. They’ve made me more money in a year (my first novel with them launched the end of Oct., ‘12) than my primary traditional publisher has in my entire career (and that would be over 8 years of being “successful” on their lists). Montlake finds readers who love my work (reviews prove that), buy almost exclusively digital (95% of my sales) and come back for more (proof that my new team understands their marketing business and doesn’t care that we’ve been blacklisted from most physical stores). They’ve sold more of each title so far (including the one that’s currently been out for just a couple of months) than my traditional publisher could through their “successful” print distribution when I walked away.

Do I wish that my Mimosa Lane books were in print bookstores?

I do. Print readers would love them, too, and I trust my publisher to make that connection for me when they can.

Do I regret that I’m making TEN TIMES the royalty rate on my digital sales at Amazon Montalke than I have at any of my traditional publishing houses?

I do not.

Do I believe the publishing press that doesn’t want digital publishing to be the end of the print publishing model as we know it (notice I don’t say the end of print publishing, just that the way it’s always been done is going to have to change) includes my and my peer’s digital sales in their calculation of “book sales” to come up with their 70% statistic?

Don’t make me laugh.

Deadline Dementia=Shoes. Simple math. Right?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Yeah, it’s writing fifteen hours a day or so time. And I’m mom-sitting, while my mother recovers from minor surgery. So I need a break, every now and then. And breaks are made for shoe dreams, right?

I’ve heard from a lot of blog followers that I NEVER do Shoes are My Heroine anymore. And it’s not that I’m not still obsessed about the little dears, as much as it’s that I’m saving for college (not mine, but the kiddos) and doing things like buying insulated windows and siding and a new air conditioner for the house. And then there are the cars that we own outright, but they keep needing pesky repairs to stuff like the transmissions and so forth, because I REALLY dig not having a car payment, even more than I love shoes. Well, almost as much as I love shoes, anyway.

But, a girl with deadline dementia needs her some shoe dreams to get her through, and I’m on my fourth killer deadline in a year. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’m a lucky writer, and I don’t let a day go by that I don’t take a moment and revel in that. My good fortune, and my obsession with shoes.

So…this spring, I’m DYING for some new chunky heels.

And if I didn’t have looming college debt on my horizon, these pale pink, patent, Lucite-heeled beauties, SO modern-day Cinderella, would be mine so fast, you’d pull back a bloody stump if you tried to reach in front of me.

stuart Weitzman theone pinkOr maybe I should be more practical…when you’re wearing your PJs all day, with Medusa hair to round out your look, while you’re being fanned by the cabana boy, who’s also peeling you grapes, some snake skin slides are a good way to go. Actually, snake-skin slides are always a good way to go.

stuart weitzman baker snakeskin


How We Write: Don’t Overwork Your Muse…

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

What do you do when your muse deserts you? What keeps you going when today’s tight market seems to be saying you should give it up? I’m on vacataion this week. And, yes, working a bit while I’m here. But first and foremost, I’m taking some much-needed downtime to recharge and prepare for the next big push in my job–which is waiting for me a soon as I step off the plane in Atlanta. I better be ready to go when I get back, but how exactly do I make that happen, and how do I keep from getting even more burned out?

Well, for me butteflies work…

butterfly farm blue

But maybe not so much for everyone else ;o)

The midlist is dying, we’re told. The task of getting the right manuscript on the right desk at the right time and selling a book has never seemed more Herculean. The average writer watches seven to ten years go by before she publishes her first manuscript. With odds like that, is it any real shock that from time to time the excitement that once inspired you to keep going just up and vanishes? We’ve all been there.
And let’s face it, nothing feels worse than to find yourself stuck in the quagmire you affectionately call your *%#$! work-in-progress, meanwhile everyone around you is effortlessly producing at Mach 3. You used to be producing, too. But now, plucking a fresh description or an unforgettable character out of what was once your boundless creativity is about as effortless as pulling a splinter from your hysterical six-year-old’s fingernail. There’s lots of screaming and tears involved, lots of wasted time trying to pin the little bugger down, only to have him scoot away just as you’re starting to make real progress. Finally at the end of your rope, you give up wrestling and wonder if you’ll ever be able to get the darn thing out.
So how do you recapture your muse?

How We Write–It’s All Up to Us…

Friday, April 20th, 2012

My 2012 teaching tour kicks off tomorrow, with a one-day GRW workshop, speaking about planning through character along side the fabulous Tanya Michaels and and Berta Platas. My editorial work has really taken off in the last few months. Very business-y. I’m all full up with answers, right? Hardly. The only thing I know for certain still, after 7 years in the business as an author and editor/teacher/coach is that, in the end, what our publishing careers become is All Up to Us. We’re in charge. You’re in charge. Of all the random variables, no. But your choices are your own, to own and live up to and deal with the fall out from. Shirking that responsibility off when things don’t go your way, is a learning opportunity lost. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t give up your power.

buck stops here lucy director of everything

I’ve made a lot of decisions in the last ten years. The first of which was to leave my senior tech writing job to stay home and be more available to my extremely ADHD son, as he navigated public education (don’t try this at home, folks, these trix ain’t for kids). My fiction publishing career was about to take off. And then it did. Fast-forward five years, and the teenager was doing GREAT, meanwhile health issues derailed my forward momentum in my new business venture (branding me as author readers would auto-buy). Was getting sick and having surgery and getting even sicker, only to begin healing a year later and discover that the publishing world I knew had crumbled out from under what I thought was solid footing, my fault? Hell no. Would whining about my ”rebuilding” help me get through this set back. HELL to the no. 

What good would it do to blame anyone else that I have a teenager going to college in a couple of years and need more steady money coming in the door, after I was basically forced to take some unexpected time off?

buck stops here failed to stop

It takes time (more time than I wanted it to) to choose your next direction, after the last turn you took didn’t result in the fabulous success you were fighting for. A direction that is uniquely, undeniably your own is a work-in-progress, an obstacle course you never quite stop navigating. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Love the One You’re With…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Writers aren’t all that different for saner mortals. Even though most of us wear our freak flags like parade banners. As part of our every-day, we offer ourselves up for rejection–the very reality we tend to fear most. Because we’re bent that way. We write about our neuroses and dreams and innermost secrets. Then we go one step further in our quest to understand, by slapping our names onto what we’ve created before sending it out into the world to be judged. Which is tantamount to dropping your pants, then plastering a pic of the gory details all over social media. And in the end, most of us writer-types, the honest ones anyway, will admit that we’re TERR-I-FIED by the entire process, even though we cant’ stop ourselves from indulging in it. Why? For the same reason a “normal” person follows his or her passion. LOVE.


You don’t get to pick and chose how your mind works or what makes your creativity thrive. Life, in my honest opinion, is about learning to love who and what you are–and the love that you’re born to pursue.

Challenge that core reality, and you’re denying the inner freakishness that you’re here to explore and share. Take a look at my Things My Teenager Says series, if you want an idea of how proud I am of kids (and adults) who figure out exactly who and what they are, then fly that uniqueness proudly. I’m still on a path to owning my own stuff, probably a step or two behind my gifted teen. But I’m a writer. What can I say? I pay more attention most days to internal landscapes, than I do the world around me. I’ll catch up eventually. I’ll understand, one of these years, everything that love is supposed to mean to me and everything it’s not. Until then, I’ll be crazy, loud and proud, and fake it ’til I make it.

crazy love graphic

Being crazy in love with your uniqueness, even when it means standing out in ways that shriek at your insecurities and desperation to belong–that’s the life goal I wish for myself. And yourself. (more…)

How We Write: When we’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting…

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Writing like we’re on fire is every author’s dream. Creating free and feeling the juice and dying to find out what happens next. But how is that zone possible, when your control of the “business” world of your publishing slips beyond your grasp? I’m asked this question all the time. Possibly because I’m riding that slippery slope most of the time these days ;o) Not sure that’s a compliment to the state of my business. But it’s nice, too, living the unpredictability of my world in an outward way that makes others want to know how I’m dealing with all of it.

There are those, in my opinion, who want to tell you how to do what they themselves aren’t, because they’ve been blessed with the answers you can’t find anywhere else–self-help folks, especially in writing circles, who haven’t actually done what they’re promising they can help you be a success at, chap my hide.


If your fiction writing guru has never actually published a work of fiction, you should probably take that as a sign.

Just saying.

There are those who are going through what you’re needing help with, and just want to rant. I’m not a big fan of that approach either. Everyone needs to vent when the going gets tough, but making a career out of shocking the world with your bitterness or need to blame everyone but your own choices for your circumstances is a little too weak for my tastes.

Then there are those who live their trials and their successes in the open, with the same kind of honesty, and invite you into their up-and-down journey, as they try to make sense out of the mix. I’d like to think this latter approach is what I’ve been rambling about doing in How We Write. (more…)

Publishing Isn’t for Sissies: But you absolutely MUST whine…

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

You hear it all the time, how hard this writing and publishing thing has become. Or whatever else your thing is, you know what’s making your journey impossible. ”Suck it up,” everyone says. “It’s just business.” And they’re right. Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes you have to say, “‘Tis,” and battle on. But other times, you need to whine. If you don’t let the frustration and anger and disappointments out, how will you know what’s most important to you and what’s worth waging your epic battle over?

epic battle cuteness

I mean, you need to have a plan, right? Beginning with a goal, so you know what you’re staying in the fight for. When it gets ugly and you want to quit, your battle plan is all you have to keep you going. Make the battle simple and clear, and about what’s most important to you. And your army must be filled with those who see your vision most clearly.

pez army

How do you give yourself all of that, if you’re  not honest about what you’re fighting for. If you’re not whining with clarity ;o)

My full proof plan for whining with purpose and pride, whatever your battlefield ?

  1. Begin with a tantrum. A completely out of control moment where your barriers are down and there’s nothing left but what’s driving you round the bend and the people who’re willing to stand beside you, calmly watch the meltdown, and be there when the dust settles to help you pick up the pieces.
  2. Dig beneath those real emotions for the core conflict that sparked your freak-out. What’s being threatened that’s so near and dear to you, you can’t let it go, no matter how irrational your instinct to rebel? That’s your nugget. That’s the invaluable part of you that you feel powerless to get/protect/preserve/make thrive.
  3. Now, leave the irrationality behind, and suit up for battle. (more…)