I thought it would be tough to come up with a way of tying the Olympic Winter Games into the self-publishing news, but it's actually really easy. As an ultra runner and some time free runner, I spend a lot of my time in the same world as many of the sports suddenly on prime time. Snowboarding and freestyle skiing and the lifestyle that goes with them are in my blood, but TV coverage makes it clear that they are not part of our common vocabulary the way track and field, swimming, or many team sports are. They are delicious eccentricities to be delighted in once every four years then forgotten about. That is the cognitive barrier people in that world need to bridge – and for those of us immersed 24/7 in Indieland I wonder if we forget that same barrier needs to be overcome.
Wattpad: Bringing words to the Screen
Wattpad have always been able to muster the alchemy that draws in not only lots of talented authors looking for an audience but millions of readers looking for their next obsession. And one of the ways they manage to do this is by being much more than just a reading platform. Now Cupid's Match will be the first short taster developed from a Wattpad story (by Lauren Palfreyman) to be viewable on the CW Seed app. The 9 minute pilot with full studio production values is a format that provides a very simple, cost-effective way to learn what audiences have an appetite for.
Twilight of the Bookstores
For a while we have become used to stories about the future of bookstores telling us one minute that their future is secure and the next that their demise is assured. The latest news, that bookstore revenues in the US shrunk by 3.6% last year (as retail grew by 4.6%) falls a little into each of these. Obviously, the headline picture is not good, but the most sizeable chunk of that hit seems to have been taken by the struggling chain Bares & Noble, leaving the hope of some green indie shoots. It has been another pretty grim week for B & N as they laid off 1,800 staff, relatively senior figures in its stores, in a bid to make savings of $40m. Without any real idea of what those savings are *for* or what they plan to do with those stores, Tech Crunch's headline seems to say it all: Barnes and Noble is Killing Itself.
A New Look for Book Expo
Last year, the event formerly known as Book Expo America reinvented itself as Book Expo. For 2018 Book Expo will be reinventing itself again (thanks to Victoria Noe for the tip). It looks like the main changes will be more opportunities for publishers to meet publicists face to face in a formalised speed-dating type format. But while there is talk of more author stages, so far there is no sign that these will be open to indies, suggesting that a reversal of last year's nudging of indies out of the door may not be reversed any time soon.
Endeavour Press in Administration, Your Copyright Responsibilities
Several indies have also had books published through Endeavour Press, so the announcement on their homepage that they had gone into administration is newsworthy. There are reports that existing commitments to authors will be met through other vehicles, but watch closely. Meanwhile, a court in New York ruled that someone who embeds a tweet or other content on their website (something we see increasingly) could be held liable for copyright infringement if the tweet itself contains infringing material – the logic of the ruling seems to extend to liability if you even link to such content, so beware – this is another thing it is important to keep an eye on when putting together what seems like a good story.
ALLi at London Book Fair
ALLi will, as always, be a big presence at London Book Fair. Watch for more in the weeks to come but mark these dates and times.
Blockchain For Books Insights Seminar: Tuesday 10 April 2017, The Olympia Room: 14:30 to 15:30
Get A Self-Publishing 3.0 Mindset: Thurs 12 Apr, Author HQ Panel: 11:45 – 12:30
And the All Important ALLi Party, kindly sponsored by Amazon KDP: Hand & Flower Function Room (upstairs) Thurs 12 April 4-7pm.
News on the ALLi Podcast
I love bringing you the news – as much as I love scraping the recesses of the internet, and dragging my ear to the floor finding it for you, so I am delighted that once a month (on the second Friday) I'll be joining Howard Lovy on the fabulous ALLi podcast to discuss the news. You can watch the first here, in which I share my thoughts on block chain (as do the other, far more expert, guests), on geoblocking and, aptly, Amazon's new WordPress podcasting plug-in.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
AWP Conference, Mar 7-10 [Tampa]
Dublin Writers' Conference, June 22-24 [Dublin}
Digital Book World, Oct 2-4 [Nashville] Ness Book Fest, Oct 4-7 [Scotland]