Apple Has a Bite of the iBook Production Pie Apple has released a basic how-to guide with its new iBooks Author Starter Kit. The DIY kit takes users step-by-step through detailed activities with all of the necessary materials including author templates to create a basic, interactive book. The Digital Reader have more info on this, along with news that iOS 8.4 will enable iPhones to read eBooks produced by iBooks Author. All of which may give rival DIY publishing services the proverbial pip.
Facebook deleting accounts: When ALLi member Jessica Bell was blocked without warning or explanation from accessing her Facebook page and profile earlier this week, ALLi members rallied round to offer advice and support. She’s back up and running now with a new page and profile. In true ALLi spirit of helping others to learn from our challenges, Jessica refers authors to the Facebook Pages Feed, which shows all posts from the pages you follow. To support each other, she suggests that members “might follow each other’s pages, and then, perhaps, a couple times a week, check out the Pages Feed to see if there is anything in there that we might like to share and help promote to each other’s followers and fans”. ALLis can also check out their fellow members’ Facebook details through the ALLi membership website search. If you’re an author whose Facebook account has been deleted, please let us know. ALLi’s social media expert Karen Lotter will be sharing some posts on the blog shortly to help members use Facebook without tears.
How to Publicise Your Next Book Like George R R Martin (sort of): Each time the author of A Song of Ice and Fire announces he’s written another few lines of the sixth book, there’s an online tsunami. BookBaby tips on 5 Ways to Get Published can’t promise that level of publicity for indie authors, but take a look at their post on exactly how to get journalists and bloggers writing about your literary life.
What If You Can’t Be Bothered With Twitter? The current issue of The Bookseller discusses the huge emphasis placed on social media for authors, indie and traditional alike. Social media is “not the most important thing”, writers and industry insiders say, while author Benjamin Wood, who is active on Twitter, said that online media had “begun to resemble an air balloon that has to be inflated with the tepid gas of ‘content’ every day to keep from crash-landing, and this presents a problem for most writers.” Kristen Harrison of The Curved House, says it’s “important to have presence and visibility, but people put a lot of emphasis on promotion, which is the number one way to demotivate an author and turn readers off”. She added: “Ultimately an author needs to be comfortable with what they are doing and saying online.” Blogging, as opposed to ballooning, the feature suggests, may be the more comfortable route for the timorous tweeter. (The Bookseller article was also the starting point for this week’s Opinion piece on the ALLi blog.)
Work Hard, Persevere, Be In the Right Place at the Right Time: Award-winning author David Farland, who also self-publishes books on writing, currently posts on success not simply being down to luck. He gives the example of his friend, Richard Paul Evans, who started out as a self-published author. Evans first took his book to Book Expo America, but all of the tables were sold out. His progress from literary obscurity would make an engaging short story in itself, involving a snowstorm. And a light dusting of luck.
Author Solutions No Longer To Feature on Writers & Artists Yearbook website: ALLi is pleased to report news that the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook search engine will not be feeding authors to any ASI companies. ALLi Director Orna Ross spoke out on this comparison service when it was first set up. WAYB told us this week that although providers owned by ASI will appear in the list of search results for a little longer “it is impossible for their name to be selected by a writer,” says James Rennoldson, Senior Digital Product Manager at Bloomsbury Publishing Plc “and therefore impossible for them to contact them through our site. As part of the next data import, all companies under ownership of Author Solutions will actually be removed from the site, meaning they will no longer even appear in search results.” ALLi welcomes the move by WAYB and hopes it won’t be too long before all ASI imprints are dropped completely, as there is a danger that uninformed authors may take their listing as recommendation. Truth will out.
Iranian Revolution in eBook Self-publishing: All of the books on display at this year’s Tehran International Book Fair had been vetted before publication and some heavily censored. But the power of the internet allows indies to fight back. The Guardian reported this week that indie authors are using ebooks and digital-only distribution as a way to dodge the government censors. James Marchant, the lead researcher behind a forthcoming report by the London-based Small Media on book publishing in Iran, called Writer’s Block, says “There have been reports of self-published authors selling more than 10,000 copies of their books online, while diaspora publishers such as Nogaam are helping to share banned books with Iranian readers via epub formats.”
Sour Grapes as Pithy Orange Comments on Self-publishing: Oh dear! Agent Orange, the anonymous UK-based literary agent writes in a feature called Vanity Fair in The Bookseller this week that “there has never been a worse time to be an author”, taking the opportunity to take a swipe at what s/he calls “the self-publishing zealots” and claiming to have met “countless authors who have spent thousands of pounds they can ill afford to achieve precisely nothing…. It is worth noting how many of these gurus seem more successful at selling their DIY books/courses than they are at marketing their fiction.” Maybe we can take you a little more seriously if you peel away that thick skin and reveal yourself, Orange? (Watch out for Orna’s response to this article in Monday’s opinion slot.)
Good News about the News(letters) We’re changing our blog newsletter manager, with a slight change to the schedule and email delivery of the ALLi Member Newsletter and Author Advice Newsletter (formerly Blog Round-Up). From June, you’ll receive your ALLi Member Newsletter, edited by Orna on the first Friday and the Author Advice Newsletter, edited by Debbie, on the third Friday. Watch your mailbox!
And finally: By popular request, the blog is now being delivered by email each time we post, but if that’s too much for you, and you want to opt out, just unsubscribe below and sign up for the monthly Newsletter instead.