In this week’s Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at the winners of the 2021 UK Selfies Awards and the Future of Literary Events.
In this month’s self-publishing news podcast Howard and I look back at a month in which subscription reading flexed its muscles. We focus in particular on the launch of Amazon’s new serial subscription platform, Kindle Vella. On tonight’s #indieauthorchat with Tim Lewis, at 8pm GMT, we’ll be talking about what makes a good story.
The Future of Literary Events
In recent weeks the announcements about book fairs have come thick and fast. And it’s important to think about the form these events will take – this year and into the future. For many of us, events like London Book Fair are a great chance to keep our finger on the pulse, meet, swap tactics with, and learn from amazing indie authors; and, yes, eat lots of canapés at Amazon’s expense. But the actual business of the big book fair can feel a little removed from what we do. We can feel like onlookers at the back of the room. Indeed, the geography of book fairs can reinforce this sometimes!
Book Tours on Hold
But those aren’t the only kind of literary event. From smaller literary festivals to poetry readings to regular author events, there’s a whole range of literary do that is part of our lives as writers. And while many question the value of such events, for some of us they are not just fun or vanity exercises. They are places where we sell a considerable amount of books. And where we have the chance to win over influential booksellers who will then spread the word about us.
Over the past year these smaller events have changed more in many ways than the higher profile ones. Many have moved online – though the success of such events has often depended on local infrastructure. Others have had to cancel altogether. And for those of us who’d turn up and perform poetry then sell 10-20 copies out of our backpacks at the bar, that kind of “ooh, yes, while I’m here I’ll have one for my mum’s birthday” sale has dried up altogether as a result.
Research by Publishers Weekly shows reluctance on all sides to go back to business as usual for author events. Publishers want to wait for authors to feel safe. Bookstores and libraries are unclear how to combine safety and business. No one is planning anything until late in the summer. For those of us who rely on more performance based events, the path is somewhat clearer. We will be back when venues are back. And rather than following the retail route, we will be more like music tours.
2021 Selfies Winners Announced
One of the things I would have reported on in-person had London Book Fair happened in the flesh this year would have been the UK Selfies Awards. This is the leading award specifically for self-published authors. In previous years it has been won by Jane Davis, Clare Flynn, and Jemma Hatt. This year, the prize expanded. It now welcomes authors resident in the European Union. And it has added a third category to its existing fiction and children’s book awards: memoir. The 2021 winners of the prize are:
Adult fiction: The Secret Diary of an Arranged Marriage by Halima Khatun
Children’s book: My Mum’s A Tiger by Kate Claxton, illustrated by Angela Mayers
Memoir/autobiography: Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell
Congratulations to all the winners and shortlisted authors. I look forward to reporting on the 2022 event in person.
Writers for Wattpad Paid Stories Earn $1m in 2 Years
I always like reporting on Wattpad, because what they get up to always raises interesting points. Mark Williams takes a deep delve into the meaning of the latest figures to come out of the Canadian self-publishing behemoth. In theory, $1m of earnings over 2 years for the Wattpad Paid Stories programme feels like small change. And not fully distributed at that. It comes from just 550 authors selected for the programme at this stage.
But the figures don’t end there. That accounts, Williams points out, for 30 million minutes of reading time a month. He also points out that this pales in comparison to Wattpad readers’ overall 23 billion minutes of reading a month. Those are mind-boggling figures. They show Wattpad’s enormous reach. But I’m interested in something not covered in the article. It’s a theme that I’ve talked about a lot. The truly abysmal rate of return for creators through subscription platforms.
Let’s assume people read a page a minute (that’s about right for average reading speed). That means each page read will earn its author 0.13 cents. That’s 1/10 the amount we looked at last week with Kindle Vella. It means a 300 page book will earn 30 cents. You need a lot of readers to make a living from that.2021 UK Selfies Awards winners announced and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
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