Friday, 28 June 2013

Elsewhere, on the glorious internet: Netball Barbie!!

OMG! Barbie’s a netball star! You’re all going to think I’m obsessed with dolls after ranting about Disney’s Princess Merida doll in my last linktastic round-up, but it’s not true, honest.

However, I freely admit to being obsessed with netball! One of these dolls may already have made its way into my house … what can I say? She comes with a netball! And a drink bottle! And a sports bag – and even A TROPHY!! How awesome is that? Plus she’s a Goal Attack. Shooters rule!

It’s nice to see a doll that encourages little girls (and the odd big one) to focus on their love of a great sport, instead of continually pushing the beautiful helpless princess ideal.
Still in the land of toys, an interesting review of Minecraft, a computer game that is Baby Duck’s latest obsession. Him and umpteen billion other small boys around the world! We have a rule in our house that “the M word” is not to be mentioned at the dinner table, otherwise the Minecraft chatter would be non-stop.  Despite that, it’s a good game, just like playing with Lego onscreen, with the odd monster thrown in to make things exciting. You build during the day and defend yourself at night – “it makes clear the ancient ties between creativity and survival”.
Teeth-grinding stuff on “the lack of books for boys” in the YA section: It’s ironic that people complaining about this can’t see “that YA is so female-centric because coming-of-age stories for young men have already been staples in the ‘real books’ section for decades. Because being a young straight white man is universal, see, while being a girl is something that’s impossible to care about unless you’re both a girl and stupid.”

Hey, maybe all these boys who aren’t reading are too busy playing Minecraft.
On to writing advice:
An interesting take on the old "show, don't tell" maxim: “Think of your book as a movie. Telling is anything you write that the camera does not see.”

Fantasy writer David Farland is wise on "being prolific". There’s no magic to it. Work hard, focus, find little bits of time between other things and use them. Don’t fritter your life on Facebook or watching television.

Which brings me to indie publishing, which is a field where the successful writers seem to know all about being productive. The question is not “write a series or stand-alones?” with them, it’s "one series or more?". Writing fast is no longer the problem it was when a writer had to wait on a big publisher’s schedule. Now it seems to be the key to success.

It’s an exciting time to be an author. As Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains, “indie writers, indie books, indie publishers now have the same access to bookstores that traditional publishers do. The playing field has just leveled.”

Which means that a lot of authors are leaving traditional publishing, or at least combining it with indie publishing. An interesting story from Elisabeth Naughton explains how traditional publishing wasn’t as great as it seemed from the outside, and how self-publishing came to the rescue. “I even hit the USA Today bestsellers list! But what no one saw was the hard reality: I wasn’t making any money. I was working my ass off for a couple thousand dollars, which I was then spending on promotional materials, conference travel and expenses to write MORE books. In fact, I was spending more money than I was making.”

Did you guess I’ve been spending a lot of writing time reading about indie publishing instead? Bad Marina. No biscuit.

One last link, from Lindsay Buroker: on establishing a fan base before you have a book out. 

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