I have spent much of the past week talking about the future of storytelling. It is an incredibly exciting time to be a writer, with new technology offering a myriad new avenues to explore. You will know that I am a huge fan of virtual and augmented reality, for this reason. I love the thought of being ale to embed stories everywhere in the world around me. But the most exciting thing of all that I’ve discovered this week is a new paper from the people at e Ink. You can put it anywhere, use it just like wallpaper or flipchhart paper. Except it is digitally responsive. My head is spinning with ideas!
Futurebook As it Happened
I intimated last week that after many disappointing years, 2018’s Futurebook looked like a do not miss event. Looking back, there were certainly plenty of highlights, and much for indies to learn. There are some great summaries online which make a good place to start. This is the organisers’ recap. And ALLi’s very own Sukhi Jutla, who was speaking with Publica, has a fascinating account here. It was great to see innovative publisher Sharmaine Lovegrove of Dialogue Books (whose passion and vision were clear when I met her in Oxford) win Person of the Year.
It was a massive coup to get a keynote from Seth Godin & his message was absolutely on point. His main takeaway was addressed to retailers, but it is essential for writers too. The way to thrive is by focusing on the smallest viable market. Go for the niche. It’s something great indies get really right. And what many who struggle fail to grasp. We can’t please everyone. But we can REALLY please a few. It’s a message we too often lose. Especially coming on the back of Cyber Monday, the biggest shopping day in Amazon’s history.
Troubled Times for Author Solutions
I know, I can hear the sound of sympathetic violins already. Very encouraging news from Nate at The Digital Reader. He has tracked the publications (paper and digital) of Author Solutions imprints from 2012 to 2017. What he has found across the board is a 40-50% drop-off in registered ISBNs. Obviously it is worrying that even a reduced number of authors are being drawn into AS’ reach. But seeing such a dramatic drop is incredibly encouraging.
The Selfies: A New Prize for Indie Fiction
As the co-author of ALLi’s Opening Up to Indie Authors, one of my biggest gripes is the way prize organisers exclude indies. Any move that acknowledges the quality of writing we produce is welcome. And this week sees a new prize announcement. The Selfies will reward the best self-published fiction of 2017. It’s a new prize for indies rather than one that pits us against our traditionally published peers. And I have concerns about the criteria, which include sales, marketing campaigns and formatting, hardly the concerns of, say, the Man Booker. But the prize, run by Bookbrunch and held in conjunction with London Book Fair, is still a great opportunity.
From YouTube to PublishDrive – New from Platforms
Perhaps one of the reasons for the decline of the likes of Author Solutions is the rise in platforms offering authors a simple, highly effective way of reaching wide audiences. One such is the ever-innovative PublishDrive. The latest raft of offerings from PublishDrive includes an option to send advanced copies to reviewers. The copies are locked down so they cannot be shared, and would be available 28 days before publication. The service, which is free, is a very handy low budget alternative to NetGalley.
Meanwhile YouTube has expanded its YouTube stories programme. The offering, which allows podcasters to create “instant” content that lasts for a week then disappears, was initially launched in beta to select channels with more than 70,000 subscribers. It has now been extended to all channels with 10,000 or more subscribers.Top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
London Book Fair, 12-14 Mar [London]
Book Expo, 29-31 May [New York]