Writers' Forum - November 2021

Acquisitions & Mergers in Publishing – 3 Big Stories

NaNoWriMo’s Not for Me! - Alternatives


Penguin Random House – Simon & Schuster Merger

On Tuesday, November 2 the Justice Department sued to block Penguin Random House from acquiring Simon and Schuster saying that, “this acquisition would enable Penguin Random House, which is already the largest book publisher in the world, to exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.” Here’s the full DOJ press release.

Follett Sells Baker & Taylor to B&T CEO

In a far less controversial sale, the Follett Corporation sold Baker and Taylor to a “private investment company led by Aman Kochar, B&T CEO and president. Follett had acquired B&T in 2016, but then in an effort to focus on the library market, closed its retail wholesale business in 2019. Earlier this fall Follet sold Follett School Solutions (the K-12 software/content division) to a different investment firm. Get the scoop from Publishers’ Weekly.

Spotify Acquires Findaway Voices

And in what is likely to have the most impact on authors directly, Spotify now owns Findaway voices. The Tech Crunch article from Sarah Perez details the company’s efforts to move beyond music and what that might mean down the road for the audiobook industry.


NaNoWriMo’s Not for Me: An Alternative View of Writing Goals and Expectations.

November’s nearly over and if you haven’t been participating in National Novel Writing Month, perhaps you’d like to find a different way to achieve your writing goals than a month-long sprint of what might seem like a nearly impossible word count. Janna Lopez writes a compelling argument against the potential mental anguish that accompanies the high likelihood of falling short of the NaNoWriMo goals. (This is a great be-kind-to-yourself article, because writers already are pretty hard on themselves.) She provides a pathway to setting goals that work for your own situation, writing style, and life.


I have often featured C.S. Lakin's excellent writing craft, editing, and publishing advice here in the Forum. Her blog on her LiveWriteThrive.com website is definitely one you should be following. She also supports your self-publishing ventures over on TheSelfPublisher.com. Between these two websites, there are enough excellent, informative posts to fill an entire Writers' Forum!

All About C.S. Lakin

I’m a novelist, a copyeditor, a writing coach, a mom, a backpacker, and a whole bunch of other things. I love keeping busy, but I especially love writing, teaching, and helping writers. I’m the fiction track director at the prestigious San Francisco Writers’ Conference. I teach workshops on writing craft at writers’ conferences and retreats around the country. If your writers’ group would like to have me teach, drop me a line. I live in California, near San Francisco, just so you know how far away I am from you and your writer friends. I also have online video courses on writing, editing, and marketing. Check out my online school HERE. If you’d like to chat with me via phone or Skype to discuss your project, schedule an appointment with me. If you’re self-publishing, be sure to head over to my site The Self Publisher! There you’ll find lots of articles on the most important topics that will help you become a successful self-published author! I also enjoy guest blogging, so contact me if you’d like me to write a post on writing, editing, or Labrador retrievers. I am also quite the expert on pygmy goats. I ran a commercial pygmy goat farm for ten years and delivered a lot of kids! So, if you need some goat advice, I’m your gal.


Johari Window: Harnessing Character Blind Spots

How have I been writing for more than a decade and not heard of the Johari window?? Kristen Lamb takes us through this wonderful tool for building characters with depth. Two of the windowpanes reflect “the self and the other two represent blind spots or areas unknown to the self but visible to others.” See if you think this is as cool as I do. 

The Wound: How Pain Can Deepen Our Fiction

I have been loving Kristen Lamb’s recent set of blog posts digging deep into writing craft. Of all the topics in this month’s Forum, I feel this article on emotional wounds is a must read. This is a great line; “All fiction is about a wound colliding with a core problem in need of resolution.” Think about that for a while.

How to Build a Believable World

The Self Publishing Formula podcast episode features author Angeline Trevena who “specialized in teaching authors how to build and destroy worlds, create rules around magic systems, and invent history so that our books are compelling, consistent, and accurate." I need this podcast – anyone writing in a fantasy world needs this!

Before You Hit Submit

You’ve typed the end . . . now what?? Turns out that you still have work to do. Joiya Morrison-Efemini shares what to do while your manuscript is marinating in this crucial checklist for the Good Story Company Blog. Great advice. 


Everything Self-Publishers Need to Know about eBook Formats

The Book Designer blog had recycled an old article on this topic a few weeks back that was a bit out of date on this subject. (Mainly, they hadn't addressed that the MOBI format is no longer acceptable for upload for your reflowable ebooks on that platform, although MOBI is still acceptable for fixed-file formats.) They’ve now updated the ebook formatting guide into a concise, worth-a-read post.

The Great eBook Pricing Question

If you’re a thorough reader, you might remember this article being shared in the forum previously. This is such a good article from the smart David Gaughran that I wanted to share it again for those of you who are now at this decision point. Gaughran really knows his stuff and I always encourage authors to follow him directly!! Read it here. 

The Best Self-Publishing Services (And the Worst) – Rated by ALLi

Did you know about this list? The Alliance of Independent Authors has compiled a list of self-publishing service companies with ratings—a truly invaluable resource as it is often very hard to tell which are predatory and which are not. Bookmark this page!

Clauses to Include in a Co-Writing Contract

Are you planning on co-writing with another author . . . or even more than one author? There are a number of contractual concerns that you should address up front to avoid misunderstandings later. Read Daniel Parson’s article for Mark Dawson’s blog here.

How to Secure Early Endorsements (Blurbs) for Your Book

Book marketing and publicity guru Penny Sansevieri gives a step-by-step approach to securing high-profile book endorsements on Jane Friedman's blog, including how to create a professional pitch package. Preparation is key and, clearly, not being afraid to ask is crucial.


Facebook Ad Changes – Target Expansion Becomes Default for Conversion Campaigns

This is kind of a deep dive into one aspect of Facebook advertising, but if you’re used to running ad campaigns where you optimize for conversions then you’ll want to be aware that Facebook is automatically turning on Targeting Expansion. And when it is automatically turned on in these cases, advertisers will not be able to turn it off. Read more . . .

2022 Literary Calendar for Social Media

Sandra Beckwith is sharing this fun calendar with 149 opportunities in 2022 for celebrating all things bookish. I always love picking fun ones to use for social media posts throughout the year. 

Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie  

Add new comment

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Your email will not be displayed to the public.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.