In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks inside the Metaverse, the latest hot tech following Facebook's commitment of 10,000 jobs.
You can now catch up with the latest Self-publishing news podcast in which Howard and I discuss, among other things, the paper shortage affecting our ability to get books into print. On tonight's #indieauthorchat at the usual 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK time, we will be talking about SelfPubCon. You can register for access to SelfPubCon for 3 days free here. Or join ALLi for free access to all SelfPubCons for as long as you are a member.
Into the Metaverse
Regular readers of this column will know that I like to at least talk about new technology. That is to say, I realise that many writers just want to produce an ebook, look into print, maybe think about audio, and then get on with the next book. But there are also many writers in the indie space regularly on the lookout for new opportunities. That might be new ways to write. It might be new ways to sell. Or it might be new ways to reach readers. So I try to give the information you need on all these subjects as stories break so that you can decide what you want to explore further.
This week, that brings us to the Metaverse. The Metaverse is in the news this week because big tech companies are suddenly taking it very seriously. Facebook has just announced it will be creating 10,000 Metaverse-related jobs in Europe. But what exactly is the metaverse? Perhaps the easiest way to describe it is a virtual world in which we can fully immerse avatars with ourselves, and interact with avatars of others. Accessed through virtual reality headsets, it's a very much more comprehensive version of Second Life. Or mass online games like Roblox.
The opportunity comes because you could do pretty much anything in the metaverse that you can do in the physical space through which we move every day. And that includes giving readings of your work, setting up an ebooks store, holding underground literary parties. Whatever you can imagine. You could even, dare I say it, set up a virtual store there to sell NFTs of your books…
New: Transparency Codes from KDP
If you’re like me you probably already use QR codes for a lot of things. The best use I’ve found for them so far is in slides when I’m giving a talk about my books. I can send people to a whole raft of materials without interrupting the flow. And that, of course, includes sending them directly to a buy link. KDP’s new transparency codes work in a similar way. Thanks to Nate Hoffelder for pointing me to this (you should sign up for his newsletter for the latest on all aspects of ereader tech).
Transparency codes appear on the back of your books with the bar code. Like QR codes, readers can point their phone at them and they will autoload a web page. This will, by and large, it seems be a version of the book’s Amazon page. I’m not sure that sounds amazingly useful. On the other hand, it will take readers to a place where they can leave a review, which does sound useful!
Call for Entries: Unbound Firsts for Writers of Colour and Nautilus Books
Unbound is one of those fascinating businesses that operates in a space between indie publishing and traditional publishing but is not really “partner publishing.” Its level of curation is more like traditional publishing. It also has considerable media reach and clout with major prizes. It achieved a Booker listing early on in its life with Richard Kingsnorth’s The Wake. But it offers its authors an equal split of profits, and uses crowdfunding to secure its first print run. And that makes it much more like the indie way.
This week, Unbound launched a new dedicated offshoot, Unbound Firsts. Submissions will be open through November. You have to not have a trad publishing contract but indies are welcome. Unbound have committed to publishing two debut works by writers of colour each year through Unbound Firsts.
Another fabulous call this week is from Nautilus Book Awards. There is a $2500 grand prize, and the awards welcome self-published titles. The Nautilus Book Awards recognize books that transcend barriers of culture, race and class, and promote conscious living & green values, high-level wellness, spiritual growth, and positive social change.
Indie Bookstore Boom During Covid
It's always nice to end with some good news. This week Publishers Weekly has a lovely piece outlining one of the less horrendous things to happen in the past year. Indie bookstores struggled at the start of Covid as you will remember. Some, sadly, have not survived. But there have also been plenty of success stories. And many new stores have arrived. Of particular note is the growth of US indie stores run by Black business owners. This of course follows nicely from the previous story. The value of stories and stores run by and centring on particular communities is something that feels very close to the indie spirit. And it is a development that serves all readers well.Facebook has promised 10,000 new jobs working on it, but what is the Metaverse and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy… Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months. I highly recommend this great list of online writers' conferences from Nate Hoffelder, some of which are indie-inclusive.