August Writers' Forum 2019


Top U.S. Publishers Sue Audible for Copyright Infringement

More Copyright Infringement on Amazon

All the publishing news and writing craft help you need! The Writers' Forum


Top U.S. Publishers Sue Audible for Copyright Infringement

The story has progressed since last month’s news that publishers were not happy with Audible’s newest feature. Now, publishers are suing to block the new feature called ‘Audible Captions’ that shows on-screen text as a book is narrated. Publishers are angry because the authorization Audible has to produce the audiobook doesn’t extend to the text of the story. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming weeks. The full article is available HERE.

There be Pirates -- How Amazon ISN'T Dealing with Copyright Infringement

Paging Big Brother: In Amazon’s Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite

Not that we needed another copyright infringement article, but here it is . . .

Many books are being offered for sale on Amazon (often by overseas sellers) that are direct copyright violations. Often, when a blatant violation is brought to the attention of the Amazon gatekeepers, their response is rather bland and far from urgent. (After all, Amazon is still making money from the fakes.) Some of these books also have a variety of changes made that might allow them to pass THEIR country’s copyright laws but are a clear violation of US laws where the intellectual property was first created (and where the pirates are selling it). This is messy but work the read.

In Other News . . .

The American Library Association is NOT Happy with Major Publishers Library Lending Policy Changes

Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and Hachette have changed their contracts with public libraries limiting the length of ebook contracts and making other changes about access to new titles in ebook form which, according to the ALA, will seriously hamper their ability to serve library patrons. If you’re not too depressed about the state of publishing in general from the first two articles you might want to read the ALA press release and the Goodreader blog post to get all the details.  

Hugo Award winners are announcedHugo Awards Announced

Here’s some good news!! Do you love sci-fi? Check out the 2019 Hugo Award Winners!





The Author Multi-Tasking Myth

Judith Briles (on the BookDesigner website) writes a fantastic article on multi-tasking, debunking the idea that it allows you to get more done. As a reformed multi-tasker myself, I find this advice necessary to REAL productivity. I realized that if I focus on a single project at a time and turn off all other distractions, not only do I work faster, but the end results are of a better quality than if I’m bopping around my screen answer emails and such. 

The Writers Rumpus website has a related article from Brittany Soucy entitled “Throw Away Your Writing To-Do List.” Now, I’m not sure I’m ready to do that, however, but she presents a concise series of questions that allow you to identify what is getting in the way of your writing progress. This is a very helpful article for anyone who is looking to reset their fall writing goals as we wrap up August.

The Punctuation Police are Here: Em Dashes & Semicolons & Colons

The Em Dash Divides

Ha! I was practically giddy with excitement when I saw this article from the New York Times. I’m a serious user (abuser) of the em-dash. I shall give a thankful shout out here to my long-suffering critique partners who have tried to limit my frequent use of this punctuation tool. Read all about HERE. (Apologies in advance if the NY Times is requiring you to create a free account to access this article.)

When to Use a Semicolon vs. Colons: Not so Hard, Really

Karen Conlin, Indie Editor-at-Large, for The BookWorks blog gives some often needed reminders on using the semicolon and colon properly. Yes, I’m a complete grammar geek and like reading these articles.

Two-Minute Tip: Line Editing to Tighten Up Your Manuscript

Here’s a fun two-minute video that comes from the Romance Writers of America via the Fussy Librarian website. Ally Carter gives us some insight into her first line-editing experience. Watch it HERE.

Avoiding Info Dump in Historical Fiction

The Kirkus Review website has a page called the Writers’ Center with blog articles on many different topics. Hannah Guy gives us 9 Tips for Creating a Balanced Narrative in historical fiction and avoiding the dreaded info dump.

How to Write a Riveting Memoir

Also from the Kirkus Writers’ Center, Myra Forsberg presents tips on memoir writing from four indie reviewers. The best one of all, I believe, is to take your cues from fiction writing to properly pace your memoir.

What Does It Cost to Self-Publish A Book?What it Costs to Self-Publish a Book

Nathan Bransford (who has published independently and traditionally) writes a comprehensive article on indie publishing costs. This is a question that comes up a lot, and there is no specific answer because every author has different skills for what they are able to do themselves and what they must pay someone else to do. Either way, this gives you a checklist of what HAS to be done before you hit that publish button.


Fast and Easy Book Trailer Videos—With Canva?

If you’re in the market to create a trailer for your book, you might want to take a look at Canva. I’ve only used Canva to create graphics for social media and this blog; however, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t create those same type of slides and images to use in as a book trailer. The Author Imprints article walks you through the book trailer process on Canva.

How to Promote Your Book Before It’s Published

Nearly every month there’s a quick checklist of things to do before you begin promotion. This month’s offering comes from the BookBub blog and is written by Julia Hansen and has some excellent visual examples: “How to Promote Your Book Before It’s Published.

Before You Market Your Book, Set Your ObjectivesThe Art and Craft of the Elevator Pitch -- How to Pitch Your Novel!

Boni Wagner-Stafford guest posts on Jane Friendman’s blog with a really smart discussion of what marketing objectives are and why/how to set your own. These goals will inform every decision you make about marketing from your schedule to your methods to your budget. Read the entire article HERE.

Razzle Dazzle: The Art and Craft of the Elevator Pitch

If the idea of pitching your books makes you feel ill, you’re not alone. Ruth Harris writes a funny, but well-informed post, on how to approach the dreaded elevator pitch. Her best advice is to think big picture or basic concept . . . often as authors we get bogged down in too many details. See if this article can help you out!


Book Marketing

How to Get Your Books into LibrariesHow to get your indie published book into libraries.

The Savvy Book Writers blog works through the obstacles of getting your independently published book into libraries. There’s plenty of direct information from librarians in this article. What's nice to hear is that more and more librarians are seeking out the best independently published books. Read it all HERE.

10 Top Book Advertising Tips from RWA 2019

You don’t have to be a romance writer to appreciate these tips brought to us by Diana Urban, writing for the BookBub blog. These aren’t simply 10 quick tips—these are ten multi-step, comprehensive ways to reach a broader audience and sell more books. Super smart! This article is a must read.

Facebook Makes Changes to Its Advertising Platform (Again)Facebook Advertising Changes

The ever-helpful David Gaughran gives us the scoop on upcoming advertising changes Facebook is implementing. It deals with campaign budget optimization and if that sounds like a foreign language to you, you’re not alone. Previously, you used to be able to tell Facebook what budget you wanted to allocate to each ad set within a campaign. Now, Facebook wants to do that for you. The work around, will be having only one ad per campaign—which is a little bit of a pain in the butt, but do-able. To get into the nitty gritty read his whole article here:

And if you don’t want to miss anything from him, subscribe directly at:

Author Websites and Blogging

Book Sales Page Website Checklist

Are you creating or editing your website? Here’s a book sales page checklist from Stephanie Chandler at the Nonfiction Authors Association.

6 Blog Design Mistakes Ruining Your Content Marketing Strategy

I have to make sure I’m not doing any of these. I hope not! Mark Walker-Ford presents an easy-to-follow infographic of blog design mistakes to avoid.

Social Media

Wow – I guess all the social media article writers were on vacation! I’ve only bookmarked one article in this category during the past four weeks.

50 Stellar Examples of Author Facebook Cover Photo Designs.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration to make your Facebook banner or cover photo really pop, here are 50 authors who are doing it right, along with explanations of why these work so well. (Hint: authors are often changing these images out for new ones when a book is about to release.)

Happy Writing, Valerie  



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