In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway fills us in on the latest with Barnes and Noble, awards for indie authors, Twitter and books — and blockchain is back in the conversation too.
This weekend I finally made it out racing on the trails for the first time this year. I have been injured for several months and, although I now hurt in ways I didn't think possible, I feel fabulous. Running long distances on steep hills makes me feel like being a writer makes me feel. It's incredibly difficult, and frustrating, but a place I feel truly at home.
Barnes and Noble Finds a Buyer
The travails of Barnes and Noble have been an ever fixed mark in the news since I have been reporting. Whether it’s a series of unfortunate events with Nook, or lawsuits in the boardroom, or marginally successful concept stores, the US’ last big bookselling chain has always seemed on the verge of collapse. Now the future for Barnes and Noble looks secure, for the time being at least. Hedge fund Elliot has bought the 600 store chain for just shy of half a billion dollars.
What is particularly notable is that this is the same company behind the purchase of the UK’s big book chain, Waterstones. And the same man will be at the top. James Daunt may have taken the credit for turning the store’s fortunes around. And for that we can all be thankful. But any indie authors who have tried dealing with Waterstones in the Daunt era will probably be slightly less conspicuous in their praise. What this means for Barnes and Noble’s future direction is not clear. But as Nate Hofelder, lifelong Barnes and Noble marshmallow-toaster, points out, some big questions need answering about Nook.
Awards Open to Indies
As the co-author of ALLi’s Opening Up to Indie Authors, I love to see big awards accepting self-published entries. This week we have news of two. Just about to close (June 15) is the UK’s Young Writer of the Year Award. Open to writers of poetry, fiction and non-fiction between 18 and 35, this is one of the UK’s biggest awards with a £5,000 first prize. Winners include some of the great names in literature, but as yet no self-published book has made the shortlist.
Meanwhile, the Wattys are just opening. This is the tenth year that Wattpad have held the awards. Despite there not really being a defined prize, last year saw 300,000 entries. I am not sponsored by Wattpad (no for want of trying, come ON, people), but that number reflects the fact that if you hit paydirt on Wattpad the world really is your oyster.
Blockchain Back in the Conversation
Anyone who has followed blockchain in the news will have learned about the Gartner Hype Cycle. Just as sure as the bust followed the boom in 2018, the steady regrowth has followed. Even Bitcoin is rising back over $8000. Now the technology media is starting to talk again about what blockchain might be good at doing. And, funnily enough, one of those things is managing copyright. This was always one of the more promising avenues, and maybe now we will start to see more, and more mature, applications emerge in the sphere.
Twitter and Books
Nothing can better illustrate the phrase “double-edged sword” this week than Twitter and the book world. On the one hand, the writer Natasha Tynes is suing the publisher Rare Bird for $13.5m after they pulled her book following a poorly-judged tweet. At least that’s something that can’t happen to us as indies!
On the other hand, the importance of book tweeters as influencers has come to the fore. Ever-fabulous literary bellwether Sam Missingham picked up a fascinating thread started by superfan @justabookeater. She and fellow book tweeters receive seriously huge numbers of impressions each month from avid book fans. Yet publishers have been very slow to recognize the potential. Maybe indies should take note.Barnes and Noble finds a buyer, don't underestimate how many books twitter influencers can sell & other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes… Click To Tweet
Over to You
Have you had any success selling books through chain stores like Barnes and Noble? Or on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
DigitalBookWorld, 10-12 Sep [Nashville]
Independent Self-publishing Authors Fair, 17 Nov [Henley-in-Arden]