I go to a lot of events where writers talk about how to be an entrepreneur and how great it is to be indie…because “entrepreneurial spirit”. For several years now there has even been a name for it, the authorpreneur. Now I love reading about Elon Musk as much as the next dreamer, but I have, and have always been reminded that I have, precisely the entrepreneurial ability and inclination of an alpine shrubbery and I have always found Indieland's lionisation of the entrepreneur over the garret-based consumptive artist somewhat perplexing. So imagine my extraordination when this week I was announced as a finalist in the Oxford University Humanities Innovation Challenge, an award dedicated to the best of entrepreneurship in the Humanities. Or something. Personally I put it down to spending too much time hanging out around Joanna Penn.
Mailchimp and Bookbub: New Stuff from Indies' Best-loved
It's been an incredibly busy week for interesting indie news, and it kicks off with two very interesting developments from what searches of indie discussion groups would clearly demonstrate are two of our very favourite partner companies. First up is Bookbub, who have just given a limited launch to a new pre-order alert. Pre-ordering is something that indies are using more and more so this is potentially fabulous (and as the post uses Barbara Freethy as an example, it's clearly open to indies). At the moment it is limited to US-based authors with 1000+ Bookbub followers but watch where it goes. At 2 cents per eligible follower it is a very interesting proposition. Mailchimp also has a new feature for us this week. Thank you to Jane Davis for pointing me to the new “add an automation” functionality, which Mailchimp explain in full here. In their words, “Automation allows you to create a targeted series of emails that send when triggered by a specific date, event, or subscriber’s activity.”
Good News for Indies
Two very different good news stories this week illustrated the full range of indie achievement. Indie guru Mark Dawson's TV deal is the latest in a trend of TV& movie deals for self-published authors. At the other end of the scale, this heart-warming story describes a school's class project to self-publish the story of a Syrian refugee.
Opening Up…and not
I have mentioned the Peters Fraser Dunlop Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award before (you'll have noticed), but with just over 2 weeks left before entry closes, it's time for another reminder. The particular timing of the reminder coincides with the announcement of the judges (one of the main criteria ALLi uses for assessing the reliability of a competition), spearheaded by literary luminary Elif Shafak. At the other end of the scale, Mslexia, it seems, might be “open to indies” but in the most backhanded manner imaginable. Its debut novel competition (whose judges are equally impressively headed up by Philippa Gregory) will accept anyone with a self-publishing track record – because we are as good as unpublished. Thanks!
Happy Birthday, Amazon
It is 20 years since Amazon's IPO. What a ride it's been! And we couldn't let this go without running an Amazon story – it appears that sales of their Fire tablet have started easing off decidedly, and this article looks at what that might mean.
Indie Author Fringe
London Book Fair feels like it was just yesterday, but it's already time to remind everyone that Book Expo (the fair formerly known as Book Expo America) is just a fortnight away, and that means it's also time for the 24 hour free online extravaganza that is Indie Author Fringe, taking place on a screen near you on June 3rd. Find the details here and please spread the word about this fabulous event.
Ebook Sales Again
Actually, two revisits. First up one of my favourite subjects – EU tax. This is a really interesting reflection on recent developments in changes to EU sales tax regulation. Even more so because it has some cool infographics. And second the perennial hair-tearing story – the decline or otherwise of ebook sales. We have been hearing constantly about the decline of ebook sales. In particular ebook sales from big publishers. Now Goodereader presents figures from Harper Collins and Hachette that point to a slight rise. That said, the real story here has to be the excruciating way in which the figures are presented, confusing market share and total sales, ebook and audio. Finally, there was a collective facepalm at this article that ostensibly celebrates the rebirth of beautiful paper books but can't help presenting that as a false binary that no sooner takes its hands off the hallowed pages as it rubs them with glee at the death of the ebook.
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Crimefest, May 18-21 [Bristol, UK] Book Expo, May 31 – Jun 2 [New York]
Indie Author Fringe, Jun 3 [Online] Xpo North, Jun 7-8, [Inverness] Dublin Writers Conference, Jun 23-25 [Dublin]
Thrillerfest, Jul 11-15 [New York]
Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival, Sep 23 [Fredericksburg] Self-publishing masterclass, Sep 23 [London]
Frankfurt Book Fair, Oct 11-15 [Frankfurt] Indie Author Fringe, Oct 14 [Online] BuCon, Oct 14 [Germany]
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Dan, can you clarify the reference to self-published authors getting TV and film deals, etc?
Mark Dawson and Andy Weir are undoubtedly accomplished self-published authors (EL James referred to in the Guardian report as self-published was actually published by The Writer Coffee Shop, was never self-published – that’s an indie urban myth).
But the TV deal now being reported for Mark Dawson’s Beatrix Potter series comes almost a year after the series was traditionally published by Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer.
So it would be clearer to say trad-pubbed author Mark Dawson, who is also a hugely successful self-publisher, has a TV deal for his trad-pubbed series.
Congratulations, Dan. You do so much for all of us. I hope you win!
Cngratulations, Dan. You do so much for all of us. I hope you win!
Congratulations on being a finalist – fingers crossed for you.