It has been a sad literary week for the poets among us, with the death of Geoffrey Hill, whom many considered the greatest poet writing in the English Language. A man as famous for his difficulty and obstinacy as his brilliance, the one thing that cannot be disputed is that, like that other recent departure Christopher Hitchens, he kept us on our toes and refused to allow culture to settle in its complacency. There are too few such figures left, and it feels ever more incumbent on we band of indies to ensure that we play out this essential role of challenging received wisdom wherever we find it.
Particularly exciting news this week from ALLi – we are partnering up with publishing platform Ingram Spark to enter up to 100 suitable self-published titles in Nielsen’s Enhanced Bibliographic Data Feed, a service previously only available to trade-published titles. According to Nielsen, enhancing metadata in this way gives a significant boost to sales, making books more visible to bookshop buyers, librarians and others in the books business, and this is a pilot to see if that really works for self-published titles. The scheme is open to ALLi members globally who have a book with Ingram Spark – enter using the form here. Meanwhile, this fabulous Young Adult short story competition from the group We Need More Diverse Books is open to anyone whose work represents diverse voices.
What’s Amazon up to this week?
Normal service resumed this week with Amazon seemingly everywhere in the news. Where to start? How about here, with Amazon subsidiary audible’s rolling out of its previously in beta “Channels”. The short form audio streaming service currently offers curated content. How much of that content will eventually be indie isn’t clear, but this is further proof that episodic and short form fiction are exploding, and the provision of that content in the equally exploding audio format is a development we would do well to watch. Equally interesting is this news that Amazon’s expansion into bricks and mortar bookstores is set to hit Manhattan. Meanwhile, this news of the decreasing number of list prices quoted on Amazon raises interesting questions, should the move extend to books, of what might happen to a whole sub-industry led by BookBub built on sending its mail list details of discounted Amazon products.
We feature copyright a lot here, which reflects how fast the conversation is moving in all corners of the world. As opposed to recent consultations in Australia and the EU, this excellent summary of Canada’s Book Summit 16’s dedicated session on copyright places the discussion in the context of the aftermath of something that’s already happened, Canada’s extension of copyright exception (10% of a book or a chapter) to educational use. Whilst it would appear at first that this primarily affects research articles and textbooks, the piece shows how fiction may also be affected. There are lots of very useful links from the article for anyone who wants to keep on top of a conversation that is only going to get more crowded and more urgent.
Litsy (details here) is a fascinating looking social reading app that looks to be a cross between Goodreads and Pinterest, allowing readers to share not only their thoughts about books but anything those books inspire them to share from thoughts to pictures. The app description refers to the place of authors in the Litsy community, so this looks like something to think about. I am no expert, but it feels like the kind of community-based app that would appeal to Wattpadders.
You have no idea how disappointed I was last week not to have found some technological quirk guaranteed to drive indie authors wild with literary desire. So this week I am so super excited to bring you this device, the Spector, described as Shazam for fonts. Do you find yourself coming across exquisite signage and text and wishing you could incorporate it into your own work or go and download it, if only you knew what it was? Hold this device, the brainchild of designer Fiona O’Leary, to the print of your choice and it will find you the font! You might want to check out her website because she has a whole lot more things to set the creative in you drooling over there!
Upcoming conferences and events
ThrillerFest X, July 5–9 [New York City] Romantic Novelists’ Association Annual Conference July 8-10 [Lancaster, UK] Comic-Con International, July 21–24 [San Diego, Calif] Hong Kong Book Fair: July 20 – 26 [Hong Kong, China] South African Book Fair: July 29 – 31 [Johannesburg, South Africa]
Writer’s Digest Conference, Aug. 12–14 [ New York City]
Historical Novelists’ Association Annual Conference Sept 2-4 [Oxford, UK] Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Sept. 16–17 [Lexington] Word on the Street, Sept. 25 [Toronto, Canada] RomCon, Sept. 30–Oct. 1 [Denver] Chicago Writers Conference, Sept. 23-25 [Chicago]
(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