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Self-publishing News: New Ways to Connect

Dan Holloway head and shoulders photo

Blockchain is a really hot thing right now. Publica have just sent the first book on the blockchain, ALLi is working on what blockchain means for writers (I’m delighted to be part of that), and so on. Last week I was at an event in Oxford with some of the leading blockchain academics, and one of the themes that came across was, when considering applications, does something really need the blockchain, or does it just need really good tech? And that struck me as a great reminder to us as writers – truly innovating isn’t just about “using the latest thing”, it’s about “understanding exactly what something can do to make what you do better, then doing it”.

 

StreetLib Market

Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash

Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash

Exchanges and marketplaces are one of the things the internet can do best. For indies, the highest profile of these are Reedsy, where authors can meet professional service providers from editors to illustrators, and ACX, where authors meet voice artists to help with their latest audiobook. Latest to enter this, er, market are Streetlib Market. At a glance, their offering is much more of a traditional exchange board than the likes of Reedsy, in that service providers gain their kudos primarily from how they perform within the environment rather than bringing their pre-existing kudos to it. I’ll watch with interest.

Audiobooks: Bestsellers and Audible

The New York Times is now producing an audiobook bestseller list, for fiction and non-fiction. It will be very interesting to see whether indies chase this as they have done the ebook lists, and if so what tactics emerge.

Photo by Kate Ilina on Unsplash

Photo by Stéphan Valentin on Unsplash

Mark Williams always has something interesting to say. But when it comes to the Audible Romance royalty debacle, I found his ruminatings even more interesting than usual. We know subscription services are notoriously gamable, and we know platforms are slowly getting to know this, but we also know that they want to give customers the best experience possible. Mark’s thoughts square that circle by pointing out, in essence, that all of these things can’t always happen at the same time. It’s very worth reading his argument in full.

The Different paths of Ebooks Around the World

Photo by James Tarbotton on Unsplash

Photo by James Tarbotton on Unsplash

Ebooks have been in the news this week in so many different contexts around the world that it felt like the best way to handle them was to go on a short global tour. We start in Thailand, where Ookbee, the country’s largest ebook store has expanded to become a full digital lifestyle store. Figures on reading habits from the US make very interesting food for thought, meanwhile. The headline is that one in five people have read an audiobook in the past year while one in four have read an ebook (compared to a baseline of 74% who have read any kind of book). The figures are broken down a lot demographically, which is interesting, but while the upward trend in audiobook participation and flattening of ebooks is notable, there is not sufficient granularity to help predict the potential for audio growth this may indicate.

In Europe, meanwhile, the UK has indicated that after it leaves the EU in March 2019 it will not be part of the single digital market, meaning that it will be exiting from harmonised regulation on, among other things, geoblocking and tax. Which in practical terms means more paperwork for indies.

Amazon Prime for Customers on Medicaid

Amazon has announced a heavily discounted Prime subscription rate ($5.99/month from $12.99) for Medicaid recipients. It will be very interesting to see if the move can be traced in a nudge in future years in the numbers of the Pew survey quoted in the previous paragraph.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

MARCH 2018

Indieathon March 1-31 [online]

APRIL 2018

London Book Fair, Apr 10-12 [London]
Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival Apr 21 [Gloucestershire]
Self-publishing Conference, Apr 28, [Leicester]

MAY 2018

Sell More Books, May 4-6 [Chicago]
Oakwood Literature Festival, May 12 {Derby}
Crimefest, May 18-20 [Bristol]
Book Expo, May 30 – Jun 1 [New York]

JUNE 2018

Dublin Writers’ Conference, June 22-24 [Dublin}

OCTOBER 2018

Digital Book World, Oct 2-4 [Nashville]
Ness Book Fest, Oct 4-7 [Scotland]
Croydon Litfest, 27 October [Croydon, UK]

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4 Responses to Self-publishing News: New Ways to Connect

  1. Wilbur April 3, 2018 at 4:18 am #

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  2. Kari Trenten March 17, 2018 at 12:15 am #

    Thanks for sharing all of the latest news with us, Dan! I ended up Following some of the sources you used here on Twitter. They had some fascinating info to offer…especially the theory about B & N. There is quite a bit of food for our thoughts to munch on. (wry grin)

  3. Megan March 14, 2018 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for mentioning StreetLib Market, Dan. We’ve high hopes for it! As I type this, we’re working on expanding the profile pages so that professionals will be able to import more of their portfolio to the site. But the broader point is absolutely correct: The platform is not run invite-only. If anyone wants to set up shop as a publishing services provider, they’re free to do so. Obviously hucksters and scammers will be promptly booted, and with only the briefest of apologies, but our reasoning was precisely that we wanted to keep the door open for talented people who, for geographical or family situation or any other reason, could not amass the book publishing cred that one gets after having worked in the New York-London publishing nexuses for a few years. (n.b. I’m one of those people who’ve amassed significant publishing cred in the New York nexus, so I’m not arguing to advance my own interests here.) Thanks again for your interest and please stay tuned.

    • Dan Holloway March 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm #

      Definitely staying tuned (and signing up as an editor). I think we need both models. I talked on the podcast that goes out tomorrow about one of the things I think you’ll find hard, which is the initial traction to make the ratings meaningful enough that they then generate trust to keep them going, but Streetlib are a great company and I hope very much it works.

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