The first hot day of the year is something I relish ever since I started running ultramarathons. There are two really important things to learn about taking part in 100 kilometre running race. The first is pretty obvious – when the weather is hot, running 100 kilometres gets a whole lot more difficult. And the second, which is equally obvious but which we tend to forget, is that if you run outdoor races you don't get to choose the weather on race day. There could be hail, gale, deluge or burning sun (sometimes all of them), which means you do well to get in as much practice as you can in the worst conditions you can find so come race day nothing can surprise you or knock you off course. There's a lesson in there somewhere. Even if it's only learn from my example and avoid 100 kilometre races.
No ALLi at Book Expo
It seems that this year's Book Expo (the trade show formerly known as Book Expo America, rebranded in an attempt, ironically, to widen its appeal) will not be open to indies. Its UpublishU feature has been dropped with nothing to replace it. As a result ALLi has decided not to be presented at the Expo, standing up for the principle that, as Orna Ross put it, where the business of books is done there should be indies. Here you can follow the fascinating conversation on this development between Orna and Porter Anderson.
Livejournal – No Longer a Little Oasis of Indiedom
To many, mention of Livejournal might be like being taken to see A Land Before Time. But just the other week, talking to a group of publishing students, it was clear that the pre-blog site is still a vibrant hub for the kind of fandoms that create the fan fiction that often drives the next wave of indie breakthrough to the mainstream. Which is why the news that Livejournal, taken over a while ago by a Russian company, has now changed its terms of service so users must comply with that country's stringent anti-LGBT laws has dismayed so many. It is a reminder that even in a digital, global age, and even as indies we and our work are very vulnerable to outside forces.
Berlin – the indiest city – just got even more so
It may not be a real surprise that the UK's most concentrated population of indies – according to Amazon this week – is in Manchester. But whenever I speak to anyone from around the world there's little debate about the world's most indie place. The answer is always Berlin. Which is why it feels as though at least half my friends have moved to or from there or at least passed through. Which is why this week's news that indie cultural Bible IndieBerlin, the go-to guide for everything with a whiff of excitement and anti-establishment that happens within the city has now fully opened its online doors to bring the most exciting indie culture from around the world into one global cyber Berlin. Indie Republik is looking for the very best self-published books to showcase to the world's countercultural connoisseurs. Submission guidance emphasises exactly what you'd expect from a global salon offering a slice of Berlin chic – a cosmopolitan, urban slant with an emphasis on great storytelling, and not so much YA, historical, or SFF or avant garde (no avant garde? Whatever happened to the countercultures of my youth?)
A New Ebook Format and New BookBub Categories
You know that phrase “what the world's been waiting for”? Well, I'm not 100% sure that a new ebook format is it, but that's what we're getting, the fb3, courtesy of Russia's LitRes. The new format will come into its own with more richly formatted books than pure text, it seems, such as comics, children's books and textbooks. Meanwhile a new addition that has piqued my interest as a massive fan of the genre is BookBub's new psychological thriller category, added along wit American historical fiction.
We all know someone who says, or has said, that ereaders will never catch on before going into a reverie as they conjure up in their mind's noses the inimitable scent of old books. Only now, in a news story that seems strangely reminiscent of, suitably, the book Perfume, it seems that scientists may have finally captured the olfactory essence of old book.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Thrillerfest, Jul 11-15 [New York]
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