The Digital Bookworld Conference took place last week in New York and as usual produced some fascinating discussion and ideas about the future of digital publishing. Front and centre this year was issue of online book discoverability and sales and the challenges publishers now face in promoting their books to readers. One of the more disturbing undercurrents of the conference, however, was the implicit acceptance of what Quarto CEO Marcus Leaver referred to as “post-bookstore book world”. While speculation about the demise of the bookshop is nothing new, the bluntness with which publishers are now openly discussing and planning for life after bookstores is particularly ominous. But is a post-bookstore world inevitable? Do bookshops offer enough value to the community of readers, publisher and authors to be worth protecting? And what can bookshops do to regain their relevance?
As any regular reader of Digireado will know, it’s an exciting time to be an author. Yet, as the ranks of independent authors rapidly grow, very few self-publishers are bothering with brick and mortar bookshops anymore. It’s not difficult to see why—sales and distribution into bookstores has always been a notoriously difficult and costly task, while the closures of large chains and cherished independents alike have led to widespread speculation that high street bookselling is obsolete.
I read a huge number of blogs and articles each week about the book industry, including thoughts on creative writing, publishing, book reviews and everything in between. With so many very talented people approaching these subjects in so many new and interesting ways, I wanted to share some of the posts and articles that I find most thought provoking and insightful each week. It’s also a great chance to meet new writer’s, bloggers and publishing professionals.
Imagine your book with no headings, no paragraph breaks and no formatting – just one long line of text, sentence after sentence with no place for a reader to pause and gather their thoughts. The narrative has become a forbidding and impenetrable jungle of text. There are no reference points for a reader to navigate by and they will quickly tune out to your message.
I was invited to attend the Hay House Writer’s Workshop this week in Sydney and the phrase of the day was definitely author platform. In fact, if you assumed that a writing workshop run by the world’s leading Mind Body Spirit publisher would be filled with creativity exercises and meditations to help you write from the soul, you might have been disappointed.
It’s often the small things that pull readers out of a story and one of the biggest culprits is sloppy, inconsistent formatting. Formatting should be invisible in a book – the hidden scaffolding that allows the reader to smoothly step into the narrative and become immersed in the writing.
Self Publishing Part 5: The Fiscal Art of Book Design (or people judge books by their covers – work with it!)
The long-term success of any publishing venture will always hinge on the quality of the writing, but without great packaging you are severely handicapping your book’s ability to sell in almost any channel you can think of. We are conditioned as consumers to make inferences about the quality of a product by the aesthetic promise of its design and wrapping. It’s a psychological loophole that marketers have been exploiting with every increasing precision.
The confluence of digital technologies such as online retail, eBooks, print-on-demand (POD), desktop publishing and social media has dramatically shifted the balance of book publishing around the world by giving authors access to the tools they need to affordably publish and market their books globally. These same technologies have also led to a virtual renaissance in vanity publishing by opening up more legitimate business models for what was once a marginalised (and sometimes fraudulent) backwater of the industry.
NZ born author Juliet Marillier has achieved a huge international audience with her elegant historical fantasy novels. Like some of her previous series, Heart’s Blood takes inspiration from a traditional fairy tale. In this case it’s Beauty and the Beast – and no, you can forget that saccharine sweet Disney version, this is a story with a lot more guts to it.
Fantasy writing is flourishing in Australia these days. Led by established authors such as Garth Nix, Kate Forsythe and Isobel Carmody, the quality of Aussie fantasy just keeps getting better and better. With so much good local fantasy available, I wanted to take some time to highlight some of the best recent releases.
40 years in the future, a plague has destroyed human’s ability to conceive females. In the Australian desert the roving bands of outstationers have cut ties with the Colony government, living out a merciless, womanless future in the outback.
Nam Le was awarded the 2008 Book of the Year on Monday night for his short story collection The Boat. He also picked up a rare double, netting the the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing. In presenting the award, Premier Rees said: “Nam Le’s The Boat, is a collection of stories that cross… Read More ›