Resolutions. They’re strange things, and you will find all kinds of statistics about how no one since the dawn of time has ever kept one for more than 28.7 seconds. Or something. But still we make them, and I’m still convinced that a regular overhaul of our trajectories and where our paths stand in relation to our values is not only good but essential.
I may be more of a magpie than most, but if you’re anything like me you’ll see new and shiny things all the time (especially in literature. Especially if you read this column and all the tech stuff I post), wander off to explore, and before you know where you are find yourself lost in the woods. Or stuck in a complicated metaphor from which you can’t extricate yourself. Anyway, feel free to share your resolutions here, if for no other reason than having somewhere to find them should you want to make yourself accountable.
Huffington Post: That article
This is a column for news items not think pieces, but every now and then a think piece about self-publishing *becomes* news. And wow, did that happen this past week. The Huffington Post’s piece “Self-publishing: An Insult to the Written Word” provoked the kind of response that you might expect, not just from writers, but from readers who felt their intelligence and their taste was being a little, um, insulted.
So far the post, whose central logic seems to be “gatekeepers, Malcolm Gladwell, tsunami, brain surgeon” or something, has attracted more than 400 comments and a whole sub-section of twitter all to itself. I guess if we’re attracting this much vitriol we’re making our presence felt!
What We All Did in the Holidays
This is the bit that’s like being at school. “So, Rosamimaquin, tell us all what you did in the holidays.” Apparently, what *we* did in the holidays was spend a whole load of money with Amazon but very little in traditional bookstores. Amazon has said it had its best holiday season ever, with over 1 billion things shipped through its Prime scheme.
Meanwhile bookstores in the US saw a 6% decrease in sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with that drop-off getting more severe as the weeks went by. With adult colouring (despite the flurry of belated interest on its tax status) no longer the thing it was, and fewer books appearing with either girls or differentiated colour palettes in the title, this LA Times piece isn’t the only article suggesting that publishing needs 2017 to provide a “next big thing”.
The End of All Romance
The biggest actual news story of the holidays by far is the seemingly out of the blue closure of distributor All Romance Ebooks, a platform used by many self-published authors. The biggest shock of all is the announcement that the company is offering to pay only 10% of the owed royalties for the last quarter of 2016.
The announcement, and the site itself, has now been taken offline, so this is the capture from The Passive Voice. Needless to say romance writers are both up in arms and disconsolate about it, and there are some interesting side stories on blogs such as this one emerging. Not something to bring much Christmas cheer.
Digital Reading Tech News
I am glad to be able to start the new year with a piece of tech, in this case the Duobook app from Findaway, which enables you to switch seamlessly between audiobook and ebook reading. available now for the iPad and iPhone, and Android version is imminent. And the Croatia Reads app gives Croatians who install it access for free to 100,000 ebooks in exchange not for money but for personal data. It’s well worth reading up on the story behind this fascinating scheme, the brainchild of open access advocate Mila Roncevic.
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