Publishing Industry News: January 2016

Publishing Industry News: January 2016

Here's a round up of some publishing news you might have missed this month:

Changes coming to Amazon

Amazon will be flagging ebooks that have "Quality issues reported". This latest update is nothing to worry about. It's basically just another quality control to make sure the publishing standard of ebooks meets Amazon's publishing terms of service. For more details about the update check out this article at

Braille Kindle

A new device is being developed to create a tactile tablet to allow the blind to read. For more details read

Barnes and Noble situation improving

Barnes and Noble have been having problems but Wall Street is betting on better times ahead. Part of the solution may be opening smaller stores. Read more about it here


Aerbook is a new venture by Ingram that creates retail opportunities  for publishers and authors via social media. For more details read

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Writing a YA Series

Writing a YA Series, guest post by Krysten Lindsay Hager #Writing

When writing a young adult series you have to remember that teens are very detail oriented readers. YA readers often reread books as well, so they pick up on little discrepancies sooner. To make sure I have all my bases covered, I started what I call a “series bible” with all the facts and info I need on the characters, settings, plot lines, etc. For instance, myLandry’s True Colors Series has many scenes that take place in Landry’s school, but in different classrooms. There are a lot of drama scenes involving a mean girl (Yasmin) and popular guy (Kyle) with a cruel streak in Landry’s math class that often pick on a girl named Thalia. This means I have to know which characters are in that class to overhear the remarks they make. It’s important to know who is seated right next to Landry and Thalia for the girls to whisper to or pass notes with in class. I actually have a page for each of Landry’s classes along with which characters are in the class, the teacher’s name, and who sits where in the room.
A lot of the action in my YA novels takes place in the lunchroom as well, so I need to know which characters eat lunch with Landry and who they tend to sit with to keep the continuity. Like in life, there’s always a lot of gossiping in a school lunch line, so I need to know who would be in line with Landry overhearing it all.

In my binder, I make a page for each character in the story—even the minor ones. It’s important to keep track of their appearance and things like if they have siblings. I found that out the hard way when I decided to write a sequel to my novel, Next Door to a Star. Originally that book was going to be a standalone book, so I didn’t make a separate series bible for it. Big mistake! I handed in the sequel, Competing with the Star, and when I got the first round of edits from my editor she noted that one of the characters, Jeremy, in the story was driving and friends with Hadley’s teenage boyfriend, Nick. However, in the previous novel I had named Jeremy as being friends with Hadley’s eight year old cousin—whoops! Luckily my editor, Gillian, picked up on that from reading the first book.

Pinterest is a big help in keeping series info on track, too. I used to make scrapbooks with pictures of how I imaged the characters to look as well as with photos of different settings, but now doing it online is easier. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s basically an online scrapbook that you can share with others or keep private. I have a Pinterest board for each of my novels. I also use it to keep track of the different places the characters go and, if they are based on real places, then I use Pinterest boards to show them.
Next Door to a Star is set in the beach town of Grand Haven, Michigan and I visited there several times taking pictures of the area. I pin pics of these places on Pinterest. The readers like to see the places I am writing about, but it’s a good reminder for me how close the downtown is to the beach—if the characters can walk from a restaurant to the theater, etc.  A lot of people who read the books might not travel to that location to know if the movie theater is near an ice cream parlor, but the novel has been featured in a local newspaper there, so it’s nice to have an accurate picture of the area in the book for any locals who read the books.

I keep my notes in a binder with dividers that are labeled: characters, classes, setting, teachers, and character’s bedrooms. YA and middle grade readers like to know what the characters’ bedrooms look like, so I describe their rooms in the books. Then, I post pics of how I imagine the rooms on Pinterest and I either post a photo in my series bible or I do a small diagram of what the room looks like.

Having the series bible for both the Landry’s True Colors Series, and now, the Star Series, has saved me time in having to flip back and forth in the books searching for details. It makes sure that my facts on the characters and the settings are right.

Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a YA humor series on fitting in, self-esteem & frenemies as well as Next Door to a Star and the sequel in the Star Series. Her work has been ranked #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in Teen and Young Adult Values & Virtues Fiction and listed as one of Amazon's top rated books in Children's Books on Values. True Colors is an international bestselling book and was featured in USA Today. She has worked as a journalist and humor essayist. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint. Her fifth YA novel, Competing with the Star, will be out March 22nd.

Writing a YA Series, guest post by Krysten Lindsay Hager #Writing

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100 Blog Post Ideas for Authors

100 Blog Post Ideas for Authors #Blogging #Authors

What to blog about

Blogging can be a great way to build your author brand, connect with your readers, and help sell more books. "45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy", so why are there still authors who shy away from blogging? A common answer I hear is "I don't know what to blog about".

Todays post will give you 100 blog post ideas for authors, meaning you no longer have the excuse of not knowing what to blog about and can start making good use of this awesome marketing tool ;)

1) Share book reviews of books you've read.

2) Give behind the scenes insight into what your typical day is like.

3) Talk about the tools, apps, etc... you use regularly.

4) Share tips and tricks about how you organise your writing life.

5) List some of your all time favourite books and talk about why you like them.

6) List your favourite author blogs.

7) Post excerpts from your published books

8) Post teasers for upcoming books/works in progress

9) Share your thoughts about the current state of the publishing industry

10) Create a dream cast of actors for your book.

11) Talk about resources, and websites you use.

12) Share cut scenes from your published books.

13) Give background information about your characters.

14) Feature your favourite reviews of your books.

15) Interview a fan about what they think of your book.

16) List your personal goals for the coming year, month, etc...

17) Run a fan contest (they could win a free copy of one of your books, or some author/book swag)

18) Talk about book clubs. Maybe give some ideas for talking points they could use in connection to your book.

19) List events for readers in your genre.

20) Let your fans know where to find you on social media and what hashtags to use to talk about your book.

21) Write about someone who has been influential in your writing career.

22) Talk about writing classes you've taken, or would like to take.

23) Highlight your favourite quotes about writing.

24) Review writing products.

25) Explain how you research for a book.

26) Explain your writing process.

27) Talk about how to outline a book.

28) Spotlight fellow authors who inspire you.

29) Talk about writers block and how you overcome it.

30) Share photos of your writing space.

31) Talk about upcoming events you'll be attending or would like to attend.

32) Talk about why you choose to self publish, traditionally publish, etc...

33) Share about how you found your editor, cover designer, literary agent, etc...

34) Talk about how you come up with character names.

35) Talk about street teams and how readers can become part of yours.

36) Share about your first published book. How you felt when it was released, how you feel about it now, and how it sold.

37) List your favourite books from this year and why you like them.

38) List upcoming books you can't wait to read.

39) List your favourite books from when you were a child.

40) Share your hopes and fears for your writing career.

41) Talk about your favourite social media platforms to use and what you like about them.

42) Post a soundtrack for your book.

43) Post about any guest posts, or appearances you'll be doing.

44) Highlight past interviews, guest posts, or features you've done.

45) Share pictures that inspired scenes in your book.

46) Talk about how you juggle being a writer with other responsibilities e.g. being a parent, other job, etc..

47) Discuss print books, ebooks, audiobooks, etc... and talk about which you prefer as a reader.

48) Describe your dream launch party for your upcoming book.

49) Talk about the people who have supported your writing career.

50) Share random facts about you and/or your book.

51) Talk about publishing industry news and share your thoughts about it.

52) Tell readers how they can help support you are a writer.

53) Discuss how to write a quality book review and why they are important for authors.

54) Talk about merchandise for your books. Share pictures if you have them, or ask your readers what kinds of merchandise they would like.

55) Describe how to throw a themed party for one of your books.

56) List a round up of writing blogs you follow.

57) Talk about rejection and how you handle it.

58) Talk about your local library.

59) Ask readers to help you pick the book cover of your upcoming book.

60) Share a video book trailer for your book.

61) Talk about when you realised you wanted to be an author. Life long dream or happened late on?

62) List writing tips you've pick up along the way.

63) Share about a book that had a big impact on you as a reader.

64) Share about a book that had a big impact on you as a writer.

65) Share your thoughts about who should win the next Nobel Prize for Literature and why.

66) Interview other authors in your genre.

67) Share a round up list of links to articles you found useful when writing your book.

68) Share about a writing retreat you took part in, or would like to attend.

69) List your favourite fictional heroes and villains and talk about what you like about them.

70) Highlight your favourite inspirational quotes.

71) Describe your dream office/ writing space.

72) Compare books and films, and talk about whether the movie did the book justice or not.

73) List your favourite words/ words you try to avoid using in your writing.

74) Discuss virtual book tours and how to create them.

75) Talk about how you build scenes.

76) Share a press release for your book or upcoming author event.

77) Share tips and highlights from events you attended.

78) Discuss writing and publishing scams.

79) Share advice and lessons learned.

80) Talk about book marketing and the strategies you've tried. Ask readers for input.

81) Share some flash fiction.

82) Talk about the low point of your writing career to date.

83) Talk about the high point of your writing career to date.

84) Showcase fan photos of them with your books, drawings of your characters, etc...

85) Share about writing challenges like NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo, etc... Why you do them/don't do them.

86) Share about special deals on your books.

87) Talk about writing book blurbs.

88) Talk about your journey to publication.

89) Talk about writer fashion. Do you wear Pjs all day?

90) Share best of the web lists. Authors to follow on Twitter, Facebook, etc... Book marketing experts to follow, etc...

91) Talk about being a healthy writer. How do you deal with long hours of sitting? Do you write standing up? Exercise? 

92) Talk about paper vs computer, and how you write your first draft.

93) Discuss why writers should also be marketers.

94) Share 3 things you do before you start writing.

95) Plotter or panster? Share what works best for you.

96) Talk about what you want to achieve as an author.

97) Share the best writing advice you ever received.

98) Share the best book marketing advice you ever received.

99) Talk about who has influenced you as a writer.

100) Talk about best selling books in your genre and why you think they are selling.

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Interview with Larry Thompson

Interview with Larry Thompson #AuthorInterview #Books

What genre do you write and why?

So far I have written legal thrillers. I spent most of my adult life as a trial lawyer. I know first hand about trials, courts, lawyers, judges and juries.
Tell us about your latest book.
Interview with Larry Thompson #AuthorInterview #Books
Jackson Bryant, a millionaire plaintiff lawyer who turned to pro bono work, is caught up in the collision of money and politics when he receives a call from an old army buddy, Walt Frazier. Walt needs his assistance in evaluating the security for Texas Governor Rob Lardner at a Halloween costume fundraiser thrown by one of the nation’s richest Republican billionaires at his mansion in Fort Worth.
Miriam Van Zandt is the best marksman in The Alamo Defenders, an anti-government militia group in West Texas. She attends the fund raiser dressed as a cat burglar where she wounds the governor and murders the host’s brother, another Republican billionaire. She is shot in the leg but manages to escape over a back wall.

Jack is appointed special prosecutor and must call on the Texas DPS SWAT team to track Van Vandt and attack The Alamo Defenders compound in a lonely part of West Texas. Van Zandt’s father and founder of the Defenders is killed and Miriam is left in a coma. The authorities declare victory and close the case, only Jack knows better. The person behind the Halloween massacre has yet to be caught. When Walt and the protective detail are sued by Kevin O’Connell, the fundraiser, and Maria Hale, the widow of the dead man, Jack follows the money from the Cayman Islands to Washington to Eastern Europe, New York and New Orleans to track the real killer and absolve his friend and the Protective Detail of responsibility for the massacre.

Dark Money is a thriller, a mystery and an expose of the corruption of money in politics caused by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
  1. (1)  I have an email list of several thousand.
  2. (2)  I have engaged several book tours.
  3. (3)  I will advertise in select bar journals since I have learned that lawyers particularly enjoy my stories.
  4. (4)  Word of mouth.

What formats is the book available in?
Paperback and ebook on Kindle
Who are your favourite authors?
Michael Connelly, Jeff Parker, Gayle Lynds, Elmore Leonard
What advice do you have for other writers?
Don’t ever give up. Most authors don’t meet success until they have written at least a half dozen books. If a writer is not willing to accept rejection and move on, do something else.
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Elmore Leonard’s tenth rule: Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
When I have re-written a story for the last time, I like thinking that I have now created something that did not exist previously, and I’m proud of that.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
Go to my website,, or read about my books on Kindle.
Who is you favorite character in your book and why?

Jackson Bryant is the protagonist and my favorite character. He’s a lawyer who became rich, handling personal injury cases, and walked away from that life to become a pro bono lawyer, helping the disadvantaged for no fee.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

When the reader discovers that DARK MONEY weaves the roller coaster ride of a thriller with the search for a killer, all wrapped up in the corruption of money in politics, it’s hard to put down.

How long did it take you to write your book?

About eighteen months, but it should be noted that I was still working as a trial lawyer and tried several major cases during that time.

Who designed the cover?

Buffalo Creative Group

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

I have a series of chapters where a SWAT team must prepare for and assault the compound of an anti-government group in West Texas. I took a condensed course in SWAT teams and how they operate.

Where can a reader purchase your book?

Kindle and book stores
What are you doing to market the book?  

Please see answer to question 3 above.

Who inspires you?

My older brother, Thomas Thompson, was an international best-selling author in the eighties. He died far too young. I suppose I always knew that I would try to pick up where he left off.

How do you research your books?

It varies. For DARK MONEY I read several books about the influence of money on politics; as a lawyer I studied the Citizens United case and the cases that flowed from it. I interviewed a retired SWAT team member; I interviewed a current Texas DPS officer; and, like most authors these days, I spent many hours on the internet.

Interview with Larry Thompson #AuthorInterview #Books
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.

My brother’s most famous book was Blood and Money, a true story about murders among the rich and famous in Houston. He and Doubleday were sued for libel by three of the characters in that story. I defended the cases and won all three. After all of these years, Blood and Money is being made into a television series. Now is the time to tell the story of those libel trials. I expect to have it done about the time the series airs.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

I have been published by Tor/Forge and St. Martin’s. Like it or not, Amazon is now the big gorilla in the room. The major publishers are not willing to contract with authors for a reasonable share of the ebook profits. So, I have abandoned them and am now published by Story Merchant Books, a small publisher that is an imprint started by my agent. The bottom line is that unless an author has a big name and doesn’t need promotion, there is no advantage to a traditional publisher.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

My mother was an English teacher. My brother was a best-selling author. Somewhere in my gene pool was that need to write. I just took a detour through many courtrooms before I became a writer.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?

Absolutely. My wife is my biggest fan, followed closely by my children.

What are you currently reading?

Valdez is coming by Elmore Leonard

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Thomas Thompson

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I still work part-time as a trial lawyer. Otherwise, my wife and I spend our summers in Vail, Colorado, hiking, golfing and enjoying the scenery and weather.

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Do's and Don'ts of Writing

Do's and Don'ts of Writing, guest post by Jeanette Watts #Writing

1.) Do make writing a priority. It is so easy to let other distractions get the better of you. The phone. The laundry. The dishes. Email. Facebook. There is absolutely no end to the number of things which can take up our time. Problem is, the laundry gets done, but the writing doesn't. You can get your kids or husband to load the dishwasher or throw the laundry in the dryer. But only you can write your book.

2.) Don't forget your friends and family want to help you. I had been working on my novel for years and years (and years...) off and on. I loved my characters, I knew where I was going... but I could never seem to keep any momentum. A dear friend who is not a writer, didn't give any sage advice, or know any publishers ended up being the single most important factor in getting my book done. She faithfully called me every day, and asked me, "Have you worked on your book yet?" Having a "book conscience" made all the difference in the world. I think three days was my maximum tolerance of saying no...because then I had to answer her when she asked, "Why not?"

3.) Don't assume you can proofread and edit your own work. You can't. You've been living with this manuscript intimately for a long time. (Hopefully looking at it every day!) You simply aren't going to see every typo, every missed set of punctuation marks, every "teh" that was supposed to be "the." Get help. There are professional editors out there who will work freelance. If you don't have the money but you know other writers, offer to trade proofreading/editing services.  I personally prefer to have at least six other pairs of eyes going over my manuscript. No one sees everything. Even the professionals! These days, I can't help but notice how many otherwise high-quality magazines will still have a typo sneak through.

Do's and Don'ts of Writing, guest post by Jeanette Watts #Writing
4.) Don't let your ego make bad decisions for you. I had a friend, we'll call him Tom, who heard that I'd published a book, and he asked me to proofread his novel for him. I started to... but every page was covered in missing punctuation, grammar mismatches, incomplete sentences. It was obviously a former screenplay he wanted to turn into a novel. "Cut to director and producer. Pan across audience" are not the words of a best selling author. But when I told him that his manuscript wasn't even ready to be proofread, much less ready for print, he got offended - and went to print with it. Good writing is about more than having a big ego.

5.) Don't lose patience.  Writing is a craft. It is an art form. Beautiful things take time. Michelangelo's sculptures were not created in an afternoon. Neither were DaVinci's paintings. It took 182 years to build Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. You are going to put one word after another, then scribble them out, then write different words. Your characters are going to defy your wishes and expectations and outlines.

6.) Don't censor yourself.  I got the most surprising advice from a college English professor. When someone in class told him I was having trouble saying what they wanted, he told us, "when your brain keeps stopping you, and you start second guessing yourself and you can't seem to get anywhere, that's your internal censor. Give him a shot and a beer and tell him to go to sleep for awhile." I couldn't believe our professor was telling his students to drink!  Only in Wisconsin... But his real point was that, if you edit while you're writing, you'll never get anything written down. Spill all the words out onto the page, and then organize and delete and replace and supplement later.

5.) Do keep calm and carry on. Expect a lot of rejection. Believe in yourself, and believe in your work, and the people who helped you craft your book into the best shape you could make it. In today's publishing environment, Dr. Seuss wouldn't be able to get a publisher, and would be striking out on his own.

6.) Don't expect everyone to love your book. You are going to get good reviews, you are going to get bad reviews, you are going to get middling reviews. Listen and learn from all of them.

Do's and Don'ts of Writing, guest post by Jeanette Watts #Writing
Jeanette Watts only lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but in her heart, she will always be a Pittsburgher.  She missed the city so much after her move to Ohio, she had to write a love story about it.

She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing.  When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.




Do's and Don'ts of Writing, guest post by Jeanette Watts #Writing #WritingTips


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