Tonight I have the privilege of giving the introductory remarks at an innovation event I won two years ago. It has been a great chance to reflect on what it means to be an entrepreneur. Not that I had ever thought of myself as that, despite the fact it’s a word we use in indie land all the time. But in the end an entrepreneur is just someone with a burning desire to change the world, and an inkling they might be able to do so. And actually what better way to describe being a writer?
How people read: The future looks bright for subscription
Several of this week’s news stories offer invaluable insights into how people are consuming their literature.
A report into the subscription market makes interesting reading. This clearly affects us. Literary subscriptions range from Scribd and KDP to Storytel, Audible, and even Wattpad and Medium. The new figures say 34% of Americans believe they will increase their subscriptions in the next two years. People might be reading as much as ever. But they are doing so not just in different media but through different models. We need to stay on top of this because many of these models come with ways of paying writers that are very different from what we are used to. And not always to our benefit.
Also of interest are figures in the growth of mobile data use. While much of this comes from video, there is also a more general point. People are getting used to consuming media on their phones. We need to follow that trend and figure out what it means for us. It will also be fascinating to see to what extent these figures are telling the same story. Whatever they are saying, the future will be different from the past. We need to be ready for that.
Expanded KDP Reports
People have started to notice that the recently introduced KDP reports section has expanded. It now contains a royalty estimator. As a poetry writer without an Instagram following, I must confess I don’t have enough data to play around with it meaningfully. It will be interesting to see what comes next.
Are Instagram’s algorithms killing instapoetry?
One of the news stories that has excited me most recently is the rise of poetry. As a poet, I have seen on the ground how much of an audience there is, and how many want to buy books. It is lovely to see that reflected in the wider sales. The highlight of London Book Fair, for example, was hearing Robin Cutler talk about how poetry is IngramSpark’s best-selling genre.
And leading the charge are the instapoets. Following in the steps of Rupi Kaur, these poets are introducing a new generation of people to the delights of poetry. This fascinating piece suggests this movement may be threatened just as it is starting to take off. By Instagram’s algorithms. Instagram is owned by Facebook, and like Facebook, it has started to decide who sees what in their feed. And the long story short version is that to get the number of views you did before the changes you need to pay to boost your content. This is something we are familiar with from Facebook. But unlike Facebook, or even KDP Select, instapoets can’t just switch platform. That is the movement’s strength and its weakness. There is a fine line between a niche and a monoculture.
Kindle finally supports Chinese
The most widely-covered news this week comes from Amazon. Kindle will now support Chinese-language works in Traditional Chinese characters, and will do so worldwide. This is obviously significant in itself. It is also interesting that it comes shortly after Amazon withdrew much of its offering from China. But didn’t withdraw its Kindle store. Watch this space.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the highlights of last month’s news as I talk to Howard Lovy on the latest ALLi podcast.Mailchimp became more expensive, Amazon Publishing turns 10 & other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Over to You
Do you think you will need to change the way you write as people change the way they read? Let us know in the comments below.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Futures Thinking, 1-3 October [Oxford]
Independent Self-publishing Authors Fair, 17 Nov [Henley-in-Arden]
OVER TO YOU
What do you think about AI and publishing? Or what is your experience of tackling plagiarism?
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