It's all about accentuating the positive in self-publishing-related news this week, as one successful indie author writes on the ongoing democratisation effect of digital technology. The rise of mobile reading also opens up a revolutionary road of opportunities for indies, while independent bookstores are doing very well, thank you (despite stories of their demise last year). And while tech is your self-publishing pal, sometimes you can't beat good old pen and paper when inspiration comes, as another successful indie proves. Valerie Shanley checks out the latest happenings from ALLi partners and friends.
Tap appy reading
With predictions that over half of the world population will own smartphones by 2018, the “globile” reading revolution is already well underway. A report in The Guardian this week looking at the development of interactive reading apps says that as big publishers are unwilling to commit large investments to digital fiction, the field remains open to independents and researchers alike. And self-publishers.
Visual Editions is one such start-up championing the opportunities afforded by mobile and interactive apps. Founded back in 2010, they have now teamed up with Google to create Editions at Play a publishing project and online bookstore that sells books that “cannot be printed”, with each one available through Google Play. The Guardian quotes co-founder Anna Gerber on the interactive, and imaginative, possibilities of the new venture and what they call “visual writing”.
“We’re trying to make books that are delightful, surprising and completely unprintable. They’re not games and they’re not apps – they’re all built out of HTML – but each one is impossible to envisage on paper.”
An example is Entrances & Exits, a love story from Reif Larsen where the reader can follow the action using Google Street View. Getting the balance right, between interactivity and narrative thrust is the challenge, says Tom Uglow of Google Creative Lab in the report, and there is a wariness of any interactive element getting in the way of the story.
“Sometimes this has meant working in a circular and seemingly counterintuitive way, with writers making edits based on a reading experience that is interactively driven, not just narratively driven, and designers and programmers making changes that impact on readability and what’s actually technically doable,” Uglow says. “But these sticky circular points are also where most of the magic happens – at least, that’s what we like to tell ourselves.” Appy days are here, it seems.
For the full report, click here.
Digital technology's disruptive force favours self-publishing
And while we’re on the subject of tech, an essay by best-selling self-published author Hugh Howey is an encouraging read. On The Wayfarer site this week is his state-of-the-nation post on the massive shift in publishing. He considers the Big 5 of publishing in the US (generally listed as Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) should now more realistically be thought of as: Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter.
It’s all down to the disruptive force of digital technology, says Howey. And as someone who has keenly monitored developments in publishing over the past seven years, he sees an increasingly democratic industry benefitting both author and reader alike.
“This doesn’t sit well with those formerly in power, but in just about every measurable way, these have been great developments, “ asserts Howey, decrying trade advocacy groups' “PR battle against digital and self publishing… writing letters to the DOJ… The argument here is that free speech was better served when only .01% of authors could publish their works.”
The available technology open to everyone has led to respectable incomes for many self-published authors, he adds, quoting Amazon paying out “over $140,000,000 to authors in its Kindle Unlimited program. That doesn’t count the dollars paid for book sales.”
For the full post, click here.
Indie bookstores keeping it physical and social
ALLi’s advocacy this year continues its #Authors4Bookstores in support for its fellow independents in the literary world . And the good news is that the demise of independent bookstores appears to be have been overstated in various reports over the past year. That’s according to a feature by Erin L Cox in Publishing Perspectives referencing a 2015 report that the number of ABA member independent bookstores in the US has actually increased 27% since 2009.
And it seems, again, that the rise of technology, rather than being detrimental to indie stores, is now enhancing their reach and efficiency, says Cox, allowing small independents to access the same tech as big corporations. Along with websites and email lists, social media enhances a store’s unique place in a community and helps expand that relationship. “And because these independent bookstores are often reflective of the communities in which they are based, they can tailor their messages in a way that a superstore or online retailer cannot and, perhaps, even interact with customers that they see regularly.”
And some of the chains too are on the up and up. In the UK, Waterstones reports that the company is set to make its first annual profit since their financial crisis of four years ago. “We've come a long way,” says James daunt, Managing Director, hired to rescue the business back in 2011. Catch Cox's full report here.
Putting pen to paper – the portable writer
Technology is the self-publishing authors best friend, no contest. And yet, indie authors holding down a full-time day job can struggle to switch on the laptop again come hometime for their writing. But as successful Minnesota-based writer Lisa Saner says, you don’t need the laptop to get the story going. Accountant by day, author by night, Saner has self-published three successful novels.“I would always have notebooks around and write and write,” said Saner, whose writing time in the early years was after her kids went to bed — typically from 8 o’clock at night to 2 o’clock in the morning, she told the Worthington Globe. She wrote her last book entirely on computer, but is now considering using technology less and going the old-fashioned route.
“I think when I was on the computer all day (at work), I didn’t want to be on the computer at night — it felt too much like work. I think writing by hand, I have more creativity.” Good old pen and paper, your portable indie writing pals to get you started. (Click here for the full report).
Newbies and Pros – important know-how from ALLi
With self-publishing services constantly developing, ALLi’s How To Choose a Self-publishing Service 2016 is the up-to-date guide for all levels of indies – both beginners and professionals. The book
evaluates all the important services, including self-publishing's Big Five (Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Ingram & Nook) to make sure you're getting the most from them, comparing one to the other, telling you what they do and don’t do and how much they charge and for what. And in terms of ethical standards throughout the self-publishing industry, the guide is also updated annually by the ALLi Watchdog team.
Inspire our Indie Fringe Online Author Conference
ALLi Director Orna Ross and her team have come up with an even better and brighter online conference for 2016. “Instead of having three days together, which many ALLi members found more overwhelming than helpful,” says Orna, “ we're hosting three separate days across the year.” Each will be an indie fringe event to the three major publishing fairs:
London Book Fair (April)
Book Expo America (May)
Frankfurt Book Fair (October)
There will be more info on these events closer to the dates, but we want to hear from you in advance. Are there specific speakers or advisors you want to hear from? Are there topics you're itching to master? Would you like to share your own self-publishing expertise with a wider audience? Put your thinking cap on, and then put your ideas down on this form to submit your ideas David, Jay and Orna.
More More More for the Best of British – Including Indies
Entries for self-published books that meet the criteria are welcome for submission to The British Book Industry Awards coming up on 9th May – but a gentle shout out reminder that the closing date for those submissions is the 19th February. The Bookseller reports that the newly named awards (revamping The Books of The Year Awards) place the emphasis on the book – whether print or e-book format – with the mission to recognise publishing successes in getting more books in the hands of more readers. (For fullo details on submitting, and terms and conditions, check the link here.)
Upcoming Author Conferences & Events
Pub West Conference: Feb 4 – 6 [Sante Fe, NM, USA] Coastal Magic Convention: Feb 4 – 7 [Daytona Beach, FL, USA] Karachi Literature Festival: Feb 5 – 7 [Karachi, Pakistan] Cairo International Book Fair: ongoing to Feb 10 [Cairo, Egypt] Feria Internacional del Libro de la Habana: Feb 11 – 21 [Havana, Cuba] Taipei International Book Exhibition: Feb 16 – 21 [Taipei, Taiwan] Amelia Island Book Festival: Feb 18 – 20 [Florida, USA] San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 11-15 [San Francisco, USA] Bruxelles Book Fair: Feb 18 – 22 [Bruxelles, Belgium] Alabama Writing Workshop, Feb 19 [Birmingham, Alabama, USA] Perth Writers Festival (as part of PIAF): 19 – 21 Feb [Perth, Australia] Perth Writers Festival in the Great Southern: Feb 21 – 23 [Albany & Denmark, Western Australia] Sleuthfest: 25 – 28 Feb [Florida, USA] Vilnius Book Fair: Feb 25 – 28 [Vilnius, Lithuania] Adelaide Writers Week 2016: 27 Feb – 3 Mar [Adelaide, Australia]
Emirate Airlines Festival of Literature: Mar 1 – 12 [Dubai] Readers & Writers Down Under: Mar 4 – 5 [Queensland, Australia] New Zealand Writers Week: 8 – 13 Mar [Wellington, New Zealand] Mountains to Sea – dlr Book Festival: Mar 9 – 13 [Dublin, Ireland] Love is Murder Conference, mainly for mystery and romance writers: Mar 11 – 13 [Chicago, Ill.] The Tucson Festival of Books: Mar 12 – 16 [University of Arizona campus, Tucson, AZ, USA] Noted Festival: Mar 16 – 20 [Canberra, Australia] Paris Book Fair: Mar 17 – 20 [Paris, France] 2020: A Publishing Odyssey (SYP): Mar 18 [Edinburgh, Scotland] Alexandrina International Book Fair: Mar 24 – Apr 5 [Alexandria, Egypt] Tampa Writers Conference, Mar 25 [ Tampa, FL ] Fort Lauderdale Conference for Writers: Mar 26 [Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
Newcastle Writers Festival: Apr 1 – 3 [New South Wales, Australia]
Bologna Childrens Book Fair: Apr 4 – 7 [Bologna, Italy]
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: 9 – 10 Apr [Los Angeles, USA]
Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival; 8 – 10 Apr [Penticton, BC, Canada]
London Book Fair: 12 – 14 Apr [London, UK]
Indie Author Fringe: Apr 15 [Online, Global] – brought to you by ALLi
Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Colorado Springs, Colorado] Story Circle Network Women’s Writing Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Austin, TX] Writer’s Institute; Apr 15 – 17 [Madison, Wisconsin] Jane Austen Festival Australia: Apr 15 – 17 [Canberra, Australia] 23rd Annual Budapest International Book Festival: Apr 21 – 24 [Budapest, Hungary] Buenos Aires Book Fair: Apr 21 – May 9 [Buenos Aires, Argentina] Abu Dhabi International Book Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Abu Dhabi, UAE] Geneva Book & Press Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Geneva, Switzerland] Las Vegas Writers Conference; Apr 28 – 30 [ Las Vegas, Nevada]
Teheran International Book Fair: May 5 – 15 [Teheran, Iran]
The Self-publishing Conference: May 7 [Leicester, UK]
Auckland Writers Festival: May 10 – 15 [New Zealand]
Book Expo America: May 11 – 13 [Chicago, Illinois, USA]
Franschhoek Literary Festival: May 13 – 15 [South Africa]
Varena-Sydney Writers Festival: May 14 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia]
Sydney Writers Festival: May 16 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia]
Indie Author Fringe: May 14 [Online, Global] – brought to you by ALLi
Warsaw Book Fair: May 19 – 22 [Warsaw, Poland] Kingsmead College Book Fair: May 21 [Johannesburg, SA] Australian Booksellers Association Conference & Trade Exhibition: May 29 – 30 [Melbourne, Australia]
(The above list may not include all the major events; please feel free to email us with any important ones we’ve missed out, or include in comments below.)Get the #indieauthors latest round-up #selfpub news @vshanley Click To Tweet