You know how sometimes there just seems to be nothing to say? Well this week is definitely not one of those times. Looking at my “list of possible links” (yes, that is a thing, and yes, me telling you it is a thing constitutes, in a way a bona fide “how I do it” top tip. You're welcome), I see I could have done with a link to a “how to edit down your list” article. Lacking that, I will dive straight in.
Last week saw the second Indie Author Fringe, this time in association with BEA. A full write-up will appear on this site in the very near future (but check out this video), but ALLi's Orna Ross had this to say about the whole experience: “It was refreshing to be in Chicago for BEA this year and wonderful to meet our mid-West membership, and bring some of the education from UPubU to our Indie Author Fringe. It was also good to see UPubU out of its basement ghetto and on the floor. However, all are agreed that BEA has a long way to go before it is indie author friendly.” Talking of Orna, it's great to see her highlighted in ALCS' recent trends in self-publishing post (here).
Goodreads Deals and Amazon expansion
Having only just announced its ebook Giveaways programme, Goodreads has just announced (full details here) its Goodreads Deals scheme (also currently in beta, also currently US only). Well worth reading the full post on how this will work, incorporating both a Bookbub style promotional email and prompts to existing fans that look like they work along the same lines as those emails you get from Amazon telling you something in your basket has been reduced. Amazon is also expanding its offering, with plans to ramp up its Prime programme, and to continue opening bookstores (story here).
Competitions and opportunities
Three competitions particularly caught my eye this week. Half the World's Global Literati Prize (here) has a $50,000 prize pot, which is enough to catch anyone's eye for unpublished works (novel/novellas, screenplays, or short stories) that explore women's experience. Authors of all genders from anywhere in the world may enter. Meanwhile Indie collective Triskele celebrates its fifth anniversary with the opportunity to win a great package of editorial and mentoring prizes (here). And the Arnold Bennett prize (here), which welcomes self-publishers, offers £500 for writers born or based in North Staffordhire in the UK. Another great opportunity for indies comes courtesy of the 2017 Shubbak Festival, which brands itself as “A window on contemporary Arab culture” and is looking for cultural contributions from all quarters, including indie writers. Full details here. Meanwhile, this looks like a fascinating how-to session on self-publishing for writers in Luxembourg. It's this coming Monday (May 23rd) and it's free but you need to register.
State of Play
Several pieces caught my eye this week that fall under what could loosely be labelled “where we're at”. If that sounds like the kind of self-reflection of a community approaching its middle age, the content will do little to dispel that sense of misty eyed melancholia. This is a fascinating, indie-leaning piece on the death of the midlist. Bookslut's no indies policy makes its appearance here slightly strange, but it was a cultural icon and Jessa Crispin's articulate piece here on why she has closed the site after over a decade has a lot to provoke our thoughts on how the internet has changed during digital self-publishing's lifetime. Like all well-narrated mid-life crises, though, let's end on an up beat. This piece celebrating the success of indie film and calling for writers to follow is full of terrible typos, but it's also really great.
Two really great informative longform pieces this week. Reedsy carry this cracking interview with David Fugate, the agent of self-publishing phenomenon The Martian, while there is this incredibly informative write-up from Douglas Burcham of his trip to visit Ingram Spark's print headquarters in Milton Keynes.
I couldn't not include the latest from the world of creative AI, as news comes that Google has trained a robot to write really rather expressive poetry…by having it read romance novels (story here). And news here that self-publishing sensation Chuck Tingle, whose particular brand of erotica is hugely successful but rarely features in these columns, has made the Hugo shortlist as part of this year's Rabid Puppies slate.
Upcoming conferences and events
Varena-Sydney Writers Festival: May 14 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia] Sydney Writers Festival: May 16 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia] Warsaw Book Fair: May 19 – 22 [Warsaw, Poland] Writecon: May 21 [Zurich, Switzerland] Kingsmead College Book Fair: May 21 [Johannesburg, SA] International Literature Festival: May 21 – 29 [Dublin, Ireland] Australian Booksellers Association Conference & Trade Exhibition: May 29 – 30 [Melbourne, Australia]
(The above list may not include all the major events; please feel free to email us with any important ones we’ve missed out, or include in comments below.)All the week's top news for indie & #selfpub authors Click To Tweet