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Winners Of The 2024 Selfies Awards Announced At London Book Fair: Self-Publishing News Podcast With Dan Holloway

Winners of the 2024 Selfies Awards Announced at London Book Fair: Self-Publishing News Podcast with Dan Holloway

In this special episode of the Self-Publishing News Podcast, Dan Holloway brings us the latest from the London Book Fair, including the much-anticipated announcement of the 2024 Selfies Awards winners. Dan also discusses the resurgence of analog in a digital world, the implications of recent policy changes by major tech platforms like Facebook/Meta, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail, and fantasy author Brandon Sanderson's innovative crowdfunding success.

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Listen to Self-Publishing News: 2024 Selfies Awards

On the Self-Publishing News podcast, @agnieszkasshoes brings us the latest from the London Book Fair, including the much-anticipated announcement of the 2024 Selfies Awards winners. Share on X

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About the Host

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet, and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, He competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available on Kindle.

Read the Transcripts to Self-Publishing News: 2024 Selfies Awards

Dan Holloway: Hello and welcome to a special London Book Fair edition of the Self-Publishing News.

I'm back in Oxford, but I had a fantastic day on Monday at the Writers Summit, which was the opening entrée amuse bouche to the London Book Fair, and we also have our main story of the week, which comes from the Book Fair.

Before I tease you with that, let's get out of the way some of the other stories.

Latest Sanderson Campaign Shows Value in the Physical

So, basically this week is all about analogue, which is very exciting for me, because although I spend a lot of time on this column talking about technology and I'm a great lover of tech, I am primarily a lover of what you might call the analogue, the physical.

I wrote and presented a paper at something called the Tull Street Arts Festival, which is a fabulous little gathering that we have here in Oxford, back in 2016 I think, as part of the festivities. It was called The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized, and it was all about how the future in an increasingly technological world would belong to the analogue, especially the creative future.

Lo and behold, that does indeed seem to be what's happening. So, people's conversations are talking increasingly about the value of physical things, of things that will enable you to be grounded in a world that is increasingly digital, of physical connection with people in a world where it's increasingly hard to work out what's real and what's not real as a result of AI and other things which make the online world feel somewhat more slippery, maybe unsafe, certainly suspicious than it used to be in terms of judging what's real, what's not real. The physical feels like a big fallback, a comforting fallback.

Obviously, the other area in which that is the case is around what it means to own a book or to own a piece of music or a film.

So, with the advent of streaming services, obviously, we know that you click a button, you get to listen to what you want to listen to, read what you want to read, watch what you want to watch, but you never know whether it's going to be there again if you want to go back and do the same thing tomorrow, because you are entirely at the whim of the people who are hosting those streaming files.

That has maybe reminded us that even in the, what feels now like the quite old-fashioned days of the eBook, the Mobi file or the EPUB file. If you got a book from Amazon, you thought you were buying the book. The terms and conditions made it clear that you weren't buying a book, but people often didn't realise this, and then they got surprised when the books disappeared off their Kindles or their other proprietary or non-proprietary reading devices, because by and large, when we make a purchase from an eBook store, we're not buying the thing, we're buying a license.

We're buying a license to read a digital product that is held somewhere else and can be taken away from us. Whereas, physical things, they are ours as long as they last, as it were. So, if we look after them, we keep them.

There has always been this value in physical things and increasingly, we are seeing technological advancement drive an equal and opposite, sounding all Newtonian about it, reaction towards physical products, physical books.

Nowhere has this been more apparent this week than in the latest crowdfunded project by serial record breaker Brandon Sanderson.

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy author whose works have millions and millions of followers, obviously, and I reported in 2022 on a record-breaking Kickstarter. He ended up raising over $41.2 million for a secret four book series, which was then released and posted out to people over the course of 2023.

His latest is a special leather-bound edition of, the book is called Words of Radiance. It's part of the Stormlight Archive series and although there are some lower tier options for eBooks, audiobooks, the centrepiece is this beautiful leather-bound edition, and swag.

That includes things like stickers, pins, tote bags. The kind of stuff that, as a fan of a band, you would take for granted that you'd be able to buy to show that you were a fan of the band. You can buy, or you can back, and have sent to you as a fan of Sanderson's books.

So, the campaign, as I was looking, has raised nearly $18 million just for the one book, essentially. What's really interesting is that the highest tier, which is a $650 tier, which claims to have a retail value of $1,000 and more, $1,150, I think, that has got over 9,000 backers. So, that's pretty much a retail value of 10 million just from a few thousand fans, each of them spending more than a thousand dollars.

So, this is very much taking us back to what feel like the good old days of Kevin Kelly and the Thousand True Fans.

Obviously, we're not all Brandon Sanderson, but as Sacha and I were saying, or Sacha in particular was pointing out at our session at London Book Fair, you don't have to be. It's all very well, it can be quite intimidating to see people raising tens of millions of dollars, but actually there are people out there who are making a comfortable living doing it this way, emphasizing beautiful products, high pre-production values, and physical things, and then selling them to a group of fans.

As someone who has, my business model has always been go and do gigs and sell merch from gigs, rather than selling online, this is something that excites me. It excites me as a fan and it excites me as a creator, and I'm delighted that it's happening again.

The other thing to note about that is that instead of using Kickstarter, Sanderson has used a platform called Backerkit. Backerkit originally, I guess it's a spin out from Kickstarter. They used to help people to manage campaigns on Kickstarter and then realized they could do what they saw as a better job themselves around a certain kind of product, the kind of product that, that really appeals to the fantasy fans, so tabletop games, beautiful edition books, and they are slightly more flexible than Kickstarter. It's not a one month and make it or bust, you can add tiers, you can modify things. You've got a little bit more flex in what a campaign can look like. So, it's interesting to see a new player on that platform block.

As this sector expands, the options to us expand and that's great.

ALLi Members & Advisors Win Big at The Selfies Awards

But the main news this week, of course, from London Book Fair is the announcement of the winners of the Selfies Awards. So, the Selfies have been going since 2018. They are the big award in the indie sphere, awarded each year to nowadays, the best fiction, children's fiction, and non-fiction books, that last title has had a bit of a history.

Their website, and I have to say if you're watching or listening in, it's really bizarre that the winners were announced on Tuesday of this week; they're not yet up on the website. It's still slightly confusing around what the categories are. So, maybe Selfies, maybe even Book Brunch, keep the website up to date, because there are people who want to link and read exciting stuff about the winners.

But winners there are, and really exciting in this non-fiction category, that used to be the memoir and autobiography category, is ALLi's fantastic advisor, a long-term colleague of mine, Joanna Penn, for her book Pilgrimage, which is indeed in the memoir and autobiography category, just incidentally. It's her account of long religious walks, or long walks along religious trails, and how a long, really long walk can be a journey in every sense of the word.

As an ultramarathoner, like Joanna, it's the kind of thing that really appeals to me, this use of a long physical process as a reflection on a long mental process, and she captures that perfectly, as well as being a very, if you just want a great travel companion, I can't think of a better travel companion than Joanna Penn. So, do check that out.

ALLi ambassador Julia Boggio, whose book Shooters has won the fiction category, and that's absolutely fantastic.

Congratulations also to Jill Michelle and Jennifer Watson for Mini Beasts: A First Guide to Fossils, or actually its full title, to give it its full title, Extraordinary Extinct Prehistoric Mini Beasts: A First Guide to Fossils, which is an absolutely fantastic title for an absolutely fantastic book.

So, it's always incredible to see the quality of production values of illustrated children's books that the Selfies Awards turns up. Absolutely fantastic to see, which leads me to another plea if you're listening, if you're still listening, people from the Selfies, if you haven't given up on me because I told you off about your website, graphic novels next year, please. It's not just children's books that can have great illustrations, graphic novels, one of the biggest boom categories in self-publishing. Please include them next year. Thank you.

It's great to see that there are also plenty of other ALLi authors who have been shortlisted. I will name check them as this is an ALLi podcast. Susan Grossey, Katharine Light, Jason Mann, Alice McVeigh, and Thomas R Weaver.

Huge congratulations to all of you and huge congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, who won, and who even entered the Selfies Awards.

It is fantastic to see such a vibrant, fabulous indie community there. So, thank you very much to the Selfies for showcasing such fantastic books.

Next week, I will report with anything else that comes out of London Book Fair, so I may be popping back there towards the end of this week. Hopefully, I will have seen some of you there. I did meet a lot of fantastic people on Monday, great to catch up with you all. Do get in touch and I will speak to you again very soon.

Thank you.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy is an author, book editor, and journalist. He is also the Content and Communications Manager for the Alliance of Independent Authors, where he hosts and produces podcasts and keeps the blog updated. You can find more of his work at https://howardlovy.com/


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