Writers' Forum - April 2024

Louisiana Bill Would Criminalize Joining the American Library Association

35 Questions Authors Need to Ask Publishers

Meta ‘discussed buying Simon & Schuster to train AI’

Amazon Kindle Lock Screens Are Showing Adds for AI-Generated Books

May Book Promo Calendar—unusual, unexpected, quirky holidays.


Louisiana HB 777 Would Criminalize Librarians and Libraries Who Join the American Library Association

Kelly Jensen writing for Book Riot covers recent attempts at book banning along with a bill recently introduced in Louisiana that would criminalize the expending of public funds for membership in the American Library Association or for the reimbursement of the cost of continuing education or attending conferences conducted by the American Library Association—with the violator able to be fined up to $1000 or be imprisoned (with or without hard labor) for not more than two years, or both.  That is so ridiculous – I’m just going to leave this here without further comment.

In a related article,  Andrew Albanese for Publishers Weekly reports that “Five Publishers Join the Lawsuit to Stop the Iowa Book Banning Law.” The publishers are Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Sourcebooks, joining the initial plaintiffs including Penguin Random House, the Iowa State Education Association and four renowned authors—Laurie Halse Anderson, Malinda Lo, Jodi Picoult, and John Green.

35 Questions Authors Need to Ask Publishers

Kathleen Schmidt pens a fabulous list of questions ‘you shouldn’t be afraid to ask’ a publisher before you enter into a contractual agreement with them. This is an excellent list!! You can find Kathleen’s free and paid posts on Substack – this one is from her free info.  Click link here. 

Meta ‘discussed buying Simon & Schuster to train AI’

This is pretty fascinating stuff – this was original reported in the New York Times, but this article is from The Guardian. Apparently there are recordings of Meta executives talking about purchasing Simon & Schuster and using that publisher’s books to train its AI. Part of the conversation, reportedly includes legal advisors raising ethical concerns when the conversation revealed that large amounts of intellectual property (from other sources) had already been used without permission and they needed more content, “even if that would result in lawsuits.”

Amazon Kindle Lock Screens Are Showing Adds for AI-Generated Books

If you read books on a Kindle device, then you know about the ads that appear on the ‘lock screen.’  In Frank Landymore’s article for the Futurism website he explains how the lock screen ad space is now being dominated by AI-generated books.  Annoyed users do have the option to spend $20 to turn off the ads.

May Book Promo Calendar—unusual, unexpected, quirky holidays

And since the first four articles were rather depressing – here’s a fun one from Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz. Are you read for a calendar of quirky days you can celebrate in May . . . How about Lucky Penny Day, International Tiara Day, or Eat What You Want Day. Check it out here.

Why Your Flashbacks Aren’t Working

The fabulous Tiffany Yates Martin gives great tips on flashbacks in this article for Jane Friedman’s blog. She identifies seven ways you can go wrong with flashbacks from being too long, or confusing, or in the wrong place. The most important thing she covers (in my opinion) is how flashbacks often don’t move the story forward—in that case they’re unnecessary. Great advice as always.

How True Does My Memoir Have to  Be?

This is a great question posed by Amy Wilson for the Good Story Company. She addresses the holes we have in our memory or how our perception of events may differ from those of others. Basically, you can’t lie about the big stuff—verifiable facts vital to the story—but it’s okay to fill in some detail to make the story an enjoyable read. She also suggests talking with others about certain events can be helpful—but not to let disagreement on your viewpoints stop you from writing. She, in fact, encourages the writer to acknowledge that there are disagreements on whatever happened but that this is how “I” –the writer—remember things. Important read if you’re writing a memoir.

Bad Decisions: The Crucible of Great Stories

Each time an email from Kristen Lamb pops into my inbox I know I’m in for a good read. In “Bad Decisions: The Crucible of Great Stories” Kristen gives us (in her typical humorous manner) a fun jaunt through building a story with characters who make bad decisions—and how those bad decisions fuel the conflict of our best stories.

Boundaries Are About More Than Simply Carving Out the Time to Write

This is a really interesting article that you may need about assessing your time use and creative energy and establishing a framework (aka boundaries) to achieve your goals. Well-written guidance from Mirella Stoyanova.


The Audio Explosion

Audiobooks are a hot topic! In this Self-Publishing Show episode James Blatch and Victoria Gerken from Podium Audio discuss how audio is exploding and providing authors with another income stream.  Click here for the show notes/transcript or watch below.

Distribution: The Most Misunderstood Topic in Book Publishing

This is the article that you didn’t know you needed. I feel like I have a way better than average understanding of the publishing world, and yet, I struggle to explain book distribution in the space between traditional publishing and print-on-demand systems. THIS ARTICLE helpfully gets down to the nitty gritty of how books get where they’re going and where they live while they’re waiting to ship to retailers.  

Book Launch Ideas for a Successful Event

Not everyone has an ‘event’ to launch their book – an actual party they invite people to. In this digital age, book launches are often done –well—digitally online using the platforms an author has developed there. This article from the BookBaby blog gives a great checklist to make sure your launch event is successful—the media advice also works for a non-party launch/release.

Why I gave My Professional Book Covers a Makeover

I love seeing the rebirth of books with new branding as design sensibilities change. This is a great way to give your book new life. Check out how Jean Gill did this with her historical fiction series. She walks through WHY her covers were due for a makeover. I love the results.


Do you have a catastrophe recovery plan for your website?

If you don’t follow Nate Hoffelder (the author website guy), you should. His Monday Morning Coffee shares the interesting articles of the previous week—definitely worth subscribing to – link is on his site if you click through below. His latest article is a scary one. Haven’t we all been there with tech problems at one time or another? But heed his warnings for protecting your website and making sure you always have access.

BookBub Trends: Tropes Readers Love in Speculative Fiction

Do you write speculative fiction? You’ll want to check out this summary of the most popular tropes for horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural suspense. How do your books compare? Can you shift into this space to take advantage of what’s hot right now?


FABLE – an online bookstore and social reading app for book clubs!

I only know about Fable because Draft2Digital has now partnered with them and if you sell books through D2D, you were sent an email telling you that this new partner was available for distribution. Fable has more than 650,000 members and 25,000 book clubs. Check them out here.

The Most Searched Amazon Keywords in 2024 & How to Use the Amazon Sales Rank Calculator

Two great articles from Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur. It’s fascinating to see what readers are searching for on Amazon and if you’ve ever wondered how many sales it takes per day to get to certain ranking levels on Amazon, now you can find out!!

The Most Searched Keywords – 2024 Trends

Sales Rank Calculator






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