This past weekend saw the staging of one of the most iconic events in endurance sport, the Western States 100 mile race. Like thousands of others I was glued to twitter as history appeared to be in the making for more than 70 miles, with ultrarunning phenomenon Jim Walmsley looking to chop 3/4 of an hour off the 14 hour 46 minute course record only to blow up and drop out after 78 miles.
There was much discussion in the sport's community afterwards but a consensus emerged that truly great athletes live on the edge and are prepared to fail again and again in pursuit of perfection rather than performing within their known limits. That is the freedom we have as indies, and it is something that many creatives, with their multiple accountabilities, simply do not.
When we have the freedom to operate right on that edge, I would argue we have a responsibility not to step back into our creative comfort zone. I urge all of you with this precious freedom: take the chance to leave the world changed forever by what you do.
Indie Success: Congratulations to Kathleen Jowitt
Fabulous news to open with.
The Betty Trask Awards were part of the Society of Authors' big awards night and are open to novels written in a traditional style. I was delighted that Kathleen Jowitt took the time to tell ALLi what the award meant
“It's a huge honour to be the first self-published author ever to receive a Betty Trask Award, and a vindication of my decision to take responsibility for my own work. I hope that this will encourage other authors to have the courage to write the books that they believe in, to put themselves forward for awards, and to make their writing as good as it possibly can be. The rewards are amazing!”
Very best wishes with everything the future brings, Kathleen! And here's to many more indie successes.
Mark Coker has just released the full details of the cornucopia of information that is the Smashwords Annual Survey. There are 111 slides full of statistical goodness. Of particular interest are stats around pre-orders – just 12% of books began as pre-orders, but when you look at the top 1000 bestsellers that figure is 61%.
Interesting, though the statistician in me says possibly not causative (just as the fact that the correlation between eating breakfast and being fitter is now not believed to have any causal relation but just to be because people who eat breakfast tend to have better overall regimens, so I would suggest that authors who arrange pre-orders are more likely to be the kind of authors who indulge in effective marketing practice elsewhere).
Also of note, is a new pricing sweet spot of $4.99.
It would be unlike me to miss the opportunity to bring a big intellectual property story, and this week sees one of the biggest, as the Association of American Publishers welcomes a $15m US court ruling in favour of academic publishers Elsevier against the open access advocates and now officially pirate site Sci-Hub, and others. The ruling, said AAP's CEO Maria A. Pallente “affirmed the critical role of copyright law in furthering scientific research and the public interest“.
Barnes and Noble, and a Warning
After a rocky start to the week, Barnes and Noble managed to squeeze better than expected (and improved from 2016) results from a lower revenue, in part as a result of cutting back on its Nook offering. The company's statement notes that it expects bookstore sales to continue to decline in the 2018 fiscal year. And a warning that one of the industry sharks, Publish America, looks like it's stepping up its marketing, targeting indies with various packages in its new guise America Star Books. Writer Beware explains that the two are the same, and not a good thing.
Definitive Hands-on Guide for Indie Authors
This is a new series of events for indies in the UK that offers exactly what the title suggests, a definitive hands-on guide to all you need to kn ow about publishing your own work. With partners consisting of the UK's FCM Publishing, Australia's Book Reality Experience, in cooperation with Ingram Spark and US-based Publisher Weekly's Booklife and Draft2Digital, all bases look well and truly covered, and there's a 10% discount for ALLi members for each of the events, which are running across the UK from 20-25 August.
Revamped AskALLi Broadcast schedule
Starting in July ALLi will be broadcasting a weekly podcast.
- Our ALLi Members' Self-Publishing Questions Answered by David Penny & Debbie Young will take place the first week of every month.
- We'll present Indie Author Fringe Highlights the second week of every month.
- We're introducing a new show called the Beginners' Self-Publishing Salon with Jay Artale & Michael La Ronn the third week of every month.
- And we're continuing with the Advanced Self-Publishing Salon with Orna Ross & Joanna Penn, the last week of every month.
All new broadcast videos will be airing at 8pm GMT each Tuesday, and new podcast episodes will be available on the Friday of the same week.
Jay and Michael from the Beginners' Self-Publishing Salon recorded a Pre-Show episode to let you know what to expect in their new monthly show, and to introduce themselves and the rest of the AskALLi shows on the schedule.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Worldcon, Aug 9-13 [Helsinki] Definitive Hands-on Guide for Indie Authors, Aug 20-25 [various UK]
W3C Publishing Summit, Nov 9-10 [San Francisco]
Self-publishing Conference, Apr 28, [Leicester]
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