I am very lucky that on occasions my day job intersects with my writing life. One such instance is a conference I am part of organising this summer on “the future of reading”. We had a planning meeting this week, and it’s fascinating to see the world in which I am a practitioner (the academic term for us writers!) subjected to a completely different set of assumptions, criteria, nomenclatures. And a timely reminder that neither academia nor literarydom no indieland exists in isolation.
Patreon to Podcasts: Micro-funding for indies
A few weeks ago, we covered some major changes to micro-funding site Patreon. The changes are now in effect for new members. In an attempt to make the business model make sense, Patreon has changed its costing structure.
At the same time, Kris Kathryn Rusch has pointed out some of Patreon’s potentially troublesome terms. Patreon has content creators grant it certain rights to any material put on the site. Despite mollifying messages, Rusch for one is concerned enough about what it means that she is not putting any of her fiction on the site. Specifically her worry is that if Patreon has acquired certain rights the moment you filter your work through it, that leaves her unable to then offer those rights elsewhere on the same terms she otherwise might. We are increasingly seeing the potential for indies to sell rights in multiple areas. That means this could be a major source of concern for an otherwise great potential revenue stream.
If Patreon has just made micro-funding harder, podcasting might be making it easier. Red Circle now offers a facility for in-cast micro-tipping,for podcasters. That means if people like a pithy point you have made, instead of applauding they can send you a tiny tip. It’s a model we’ve seen a little for written content in blockchain projects like Steem.it. and, of course, it’s a model that is well-established in the adult entertainment industry. Finally, while we're on crowdfunding, you can get the full recap of last weekend's Kickstarter conference here.
Elitism and Productivity?: Indie literary life
About once every couple of months, a bookish story crosses over and becomes a mainstream story. This week it was a story that illustrates how different the indie world is from other parts of society. Glamour gave us a fascinating profile of one of the world’s bestselling writers. Over a 50 year career, Danielle Steel, it revealed, has written 179 books. Twitter has been aghast, almost disbelieving. Breaking it down at under 4 books a year, in terms of what we’re so often advised, that sounds positively slow.
And talking of the traditional publishing world not quite overlapping with Indieland, it seems the new trend for “creating buzz” is chapbooks. As poets among you will know, a chapbook is basically a pamphlet, a book of a chapter in length. In other words, publishers are hooking readers with pithy samplers – the way many indies do as a matter of course.
Meanwhile, there has been much talk about writing as an elite profession. This comes from figures we reported recently. The median earnings from writing in the UK is £10,000, around a third of the median wage. Few writers can pursue their art without private means or other work (though as Nate Hofelder points out, this is not new). This has now been highlighted as a major threat to inclusivity, creativity, and culture by Kit de Waal. She is the editor of Common People, an anthology of working class fiction. She has also donated 5 free entries to the Bridport Prize, the UK’s leading short story competition, for writers of limited means.
What and How People Read
The lives of writers are interesting. But the lives of readers are our fuel. So a major new study by Booknet Canada on reading habits is an essential study for indies. Coming in multiple parts, it looks at everything from how people acquire ad discover books to why and how they read. Two findings stood out for me. Most Canadian readers of ebooks use a tablet – that runs counter to much of what we hear. And people REALLY like to talk about the books they read, both online and offline. Write books that spark conversations!
Is Protecting Your Copyright Getting Easier?
We have reported before on the CASE (Copyright Alternative in Small-claims Enforcement) Act. The legislation currently working its way through the system in the US would enable people to pursue copyright cases through a small claims court set up under the Copyright Office. The CASE Act would make enforcing copyright claims simpler, cheaper, and more agile. The Association of American Publishers and the Authors’ Guild have both got behind it. Given the increasing worries over copyright infringement I’ve been reporting on, it can’t come soon enough for US-based indies.
Talking of copyright, don't forget to take our ALLi copyright survey here! You can read more about the background to ALLi's thinking and questions around copyright here.Is Patreon less attractive to indies, what Canadians are reading & 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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