One of the most important skills we can learn is flexibility. This weekend I lined up in perfect conditions for a 100 kilometre race, the first of 2 ultramarathons this summer. After spraining my ankle 20k in I made the choice to pull out at half way and preserve my strength and health for my next race. It was a sensible, simple choice. An example of adaptability. Yet when it comes to our writing we so rarely use that same flexibility, preferring instead to stick to a plan without evaluation because we believe persistence regardless is somehow magical. As indies our greatest strength is the ability to be flexible. We’d do well to remember that more.
Amazon’s Rise & Rise
As I type, we are in the midst of Amazon Prime Day, and by this time next week as the figures start rolling in, we will have yet another measure of the company’s staggering growth (edited a little later to add that the figures will not be helped by a somewhat sustained sitewide crash!). But this week the big figure is 49. Specifically 49 cents out of every dollar spent online in the US goes to Amazon. And 5 cents out of every dollar spent on retail anywhere in the US. As authors, we tend to see Amazon’s dominance through a series of what can often feel like slightly disconnected lenses – whether or not we should “go wide”, our reliance on the Kindle Unlimited pot and how page counts work, review removal anxiety, and the way bestseller charts feature a lot of Amazon’s own imprints. We worry about each of these things individually. But the reason each of them causes us so much concern is simple: Amazon is so big we can’t ignore it.
Technology, the Law, and Indies
Last week we looked at the AI that had uncovered the flaws in the GDPR compliance of the world’s largest companies. This week’s instalment of “that is a surprise to no one” tells us that only 20% of companies feel happy with how they are doing for GDPR. While we’re on the subject of controversial European legislation, I’ve covered the ups and downs if the EU’s attempt to implement something like the doomed SOPA/PIPA legislation that would effectively turn everyone who owns a website into a copyright watchdog, from YouTube all the way down to you as an individual author, and the content your guest bloggers provide. After looking like it would sail through, it was voted down this month. Publishing Perspectives has a very good interview with lawyer Jessica Saenger looking at what the legislation, which returns to the European Parliament in September, would mean.
New from Bookfunnel: Share ebooks in Person
Whatever we think about copyright and piracy, there are times when we would like to be able to gift someone a book. Sometimes we would like that to be an ebook. Bookfunnel is great for swapping a book for someone’s email address via an online form. But what if you want to give the book to someone you meet at, say, a book fair? Well, Bookfunnel now enables you to generate download codes to do just that. You can print them out on slips of paper or business cards and hand them out. And each code will only allow one (watermarked) download so there’s no risk of copying.
Type & Tell
Type and Tell was launched in the UK to great fanfare at last year’s London Book Fair. With the weight of publishing giants Bonnier behind it, and a great team in place, it was a platform that aimed to do digital publishing and distribution to the highest spec. Sadly, it went the same way as Pan MacMillan’s Pronoun. It was withdrawn from the UK under a year later, but it limps on in Sweden, where it has been transferred to another Bonnier arm, Adlibris.Top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Historical Novel Society Conference, Aug 24-26 [Scotland]
Digital Book World, Oct 2-4 [Nashville] Ness Book Fest, Oct 4-7 [Scotland] Frankfurt Book Fair, Oct 10-14 [Frankfurt] Helsinki Book Fair, 25-28 Oct [Helsinki] Croydon Litfest, 27 October [Croydon, UK]