It's not often that in a sales context I thank my lucky stars I am a performance poet! But there is one key area in which I have it very easy, and that is getting my books to my marketplace – I simply carry them with me in a backpack and sell them at the door after a show. One of the most important things indies have to do is find a route to market, deciding which platforms to use to bring their books to the right readers. It's those platforms that seems to have bubbled up to the surface of the newsy sea this week.
Taking your book to market
Last week I told you that MacMillan had just acquired the platform Pronoun (press release here), the free, assisted self-publishing platform. I am delighted that ALLi's Services Watchdog John Doppler has just (here) produced a lot more detail on what this means (tl;dr too early to say too much). News of the demise of assisted self-publishing outfit Booktrope is a month old (see this piece), but it looks from this piece in Publishers Weekly that some of the ramifications for indies are just becoming clear. The main issue seems to come from the unusual business model Booktrope used, with the team who worked on a book receiving a royalty rather than a fee. The result is that indies who want to salvage their book and republish it on another platform need to negotiate a way to compensate that team for their work now that a royalty cut no longer flows to them automatically.
Is print really on the march?
We hear a lot about how ebook sales have plateaued (this week, alone, Publishing Perspectives has stories about such plateauing in Germany [here] and Mexico [here]) whilst print is finding itself resurgent. Jane Friedman has just offered (here) a fascinating analysis of whether statistics supporting this might actually be misleading – making important reading for any indie wondering about their five year plans. Her theory in a nutshell is that the bounce in print figures can be more than accounted for by the adult colouring boom. Which is interesting because the colouring boom is not like, say the 50 Shades boom – that is to say, it's not that there's always one kind of book doing well, and today that's colouring books, tomorrow it'll still be books, just different. Rather, it's more like loom bands – there's always a craze, and today that's a type of book, tomorrow it may be a type of puzzle. What this means is we need to keep coming back to print figures after colouring books have faded away if we want to really see what's going on.
Mainstream media hosts webchat with two giants of self-publishing – ask your questions
Last week I noted how encouraging it was to see a detailed piece on Adam Croft in the Guardian. This week they have gone one better. On Monday lunchtime, Adam and fellow indie blockbuster Rachel Abbott will be answering questions live on the Guardian's books blog. Go here to ask your questions.
The art of the novella
This isn't strictly an indie story, but it is one with implications for indies. One man publishing behemoth James Patterson has now launched his BookShots project (full piece here). BookShots will provide a series of novellas (all under 150 pages) costing less than $5 each. Now, that tag might raise your eyebrows, but the principle behind it – a (relative to the novel) low cost high quality short form story is one indies are very familiar with. This may be a case of the mainstream following where indies have led, but with James Patterson on board it certainly won't lower the novella's profile, and if that further nudges readers' habits and expectations, then indies might want to keep looking.
And finally…Amazon in India, AI, and plagiarism
Unrelated stories, I hasten to add. In the first item (here), Jeff Bezos has announced a further $3billion investment in Amazon in India. Meanwhile, this piece in The Atlantic represents the tip of an iceberg I've been seeing scraping more and more hulls recently – the issue of plagiarism in the self-publishing age. And because it wouldn't be “and finally” without a u/dystopian glance into the future of literature, head over here to check out Sunspring, a film shot from a script written entirely by AI.
Upcoming conferences and events
Evesham Festival of Words July 1-3 (Evesham, UK]
Beacon Lit, July 2, Ivinghoe UK
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]
Frankfurt Book Fair, Oct. 19–23 [Frankfurt, Germany]
(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