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Self-publishing News: Subscription Reading Insights

Self-publishing News: Subscription Reading Insights

In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway outlines new tools that make subscription

Dan Holloway head and shoulders

ALLi's News Editor Dan Holloway

platforms more transparent for writers using them.

It was a pleasure as always talking to ALLi's podcast editor, Howard Lovy for the latest self-publishing newscast. Can I also point you towards the write-up of last week's #indieauthorchat on twitter when we discussed automating processes. And I heartily recommend tonight's version (8pm UK time, 3pm Eastern, Noon Pacific). Indie superstar Adam Croft will be sharing his key lessons.

Bookbeat Insights

It’s been a mixed week for the platform we rely on. Lulu have had a less than stellar time. I first noticed this with a pained tweet from a prominent ALLi member. And then Nate at Digital Reader pointed out that the company still hasn’t resolved issues that have plagued it since April. This comes despite a commitment on June 12th to sort out issues which have affected sales as well as the way books appear post haste.

It’s been more upbeat for Bookbeat, though. The subscription service has a new feature that could revolutionise subscription platforms. This matters because, as we’ve increasingly seen, subscription is not just here to stay but growing relentlessly. So it is important that as publishers we can embrace it not as something we have to do and don’t have much of a clue about but as a focused part of our business. Bookbeat Insights should help with that, by sharing information with publishers about what readers do with books once they have opened them. It is a fair bet that other subscription services will follow suit.

Events Online

Before you read any further, consider coming back to this column in a few hours’ time. Start by heading to Bookwire’s All about Audio conference, which starts 2 hours after we go to press. Among the speakers is Helena Gustafson of Storytel. As you know if you’ve read this column before, Storytel are the Swedish-based audiobook subscription service that have been taking the literary world by storm.

And on the subject of online events, the British Book Awards, or Nibbies, has moved online. The 30th edition of the awards will be on June 29th, and will include a “best of the best” of winners from its 3 decades.

Publishers Take Stock

This week sees two interesting industry analyses. First up is this fascinating insight from Publishers Weekly. It looks at the response of indie publishers to Covid-19 and the most interesting insight is the boost for backlists. That, of course, is something that many of us as indies often think about. There's a very interesting piece on the Smashwords blog on the same topic.

And this whole week, The Bookseller is running  a series of events on diversity in publishing. This centres around the release of a major new report on Friday. We should also add here the worrying news that Bertrams has gone into administration formally. I've reported on Bertrams a few times in the past few weeks, and we knew this was coming. But now it's here and we need to be aware of the potential consequences. These are not just around the sad loss of jobs, but also around the dangers of moving to a warehousing and distribution monopoly.

New Tech Chances

If you listened to my latest news podcast with Howard, you’ll know I love bringing tech stories. Especially stories about new technological opportunities for indie authors to expand our offering and reach. It’s very appropriate that we have two such opportunities this week. After all, this is the week Apple announced its new operating system will be called Big Sur, one of the most iconic places in literary history, as spiritual home to the Beatnik movement.

First up is a new free service from streaming giant Twitch. Twitch Studio walks newcomers through the process of streaming. This can be streaming of your own content direct to an interactive audience, as well as streaming of game play that you might associate with the platform. As poetry in particular becomes more and more popular, this seems like a great thing to explore. It’s available for both Mac and PC.

And then there’s a new feature from the content curation site, Flipboard. Storyboards enable you to create a better storytelling experience through your curation of news and non-fiction content.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months.

Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) – Zoom meetings the 2nd Saturday of each month

JUNE 2020

Windrush Day Lecture, 22 June
American Library Association Online Event, 24-26 June
Writing Our Legacy, June -Nov
All About Audio, 29 June
Writers' Summer School, 30 June


Frankfurter Buchmesse, 14-18 Oct [Frankfurt/online]

Over to You

Let us know aboutonline events of interest to indies in the comments below.

Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


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