BookMachine is a publishing community. We run events and we post news, views & interviews. Join us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up to our Mailing list

Your Innovation Ain’t All That

Robot from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxyor The Future of Storytelling Might Not Be So Fancy

Two weeks ago, a friend of mine, knowing my penchant for all things techy and mental, sent me links to two websites, both of which contain experimental digital fiction.  One, a short fiction website called Dreaming Methods, uses clever coding to create an app-like experience in your browser. The second, Nawlz, is a more conventional interactive comic where the frames move and change depending on user interaction, thus giving the reader the illusion of control (it’s actually rather good).

Continue Reading 1 Comment

What Can the US Teach the UK About Children’s Non-Fiction?

Margaret Eckel
This is a guest post from Margaret Eckel, who is a freelance PR Co-ordinator. You can find her on Linkedin.


Recently, I wrote a post here which encouraged everyone to revisit their relationship with children’s non-fiction.  Originally, I didn’t have space to address an interesting comment that Nicola Davies and Vivian French made at Booktrust’s London Book Fair seminar: that children’s non-fiction seems to be more popular in the US than in the UK.  As an American in London, I know that cross-cultural idea exchange is a great learning experience, and this really intrigued me.  I wanted to find out why two successful non-fiction authors would feel this way, and whether things are different for children’s non-fiction across the pond.

I spoke further with Vivian French about her personal experience and got on-the-ground insight about children’s non-fiction in the US from Dr. Joan Kindig, an education and reading specialist at James Madison University, who certainly has her finger on the pulse of US children’s publishing trends.

Here’s what I think the UK publishing industry should take away from our counterparts in the states…

Continue Reading 1 Comment

The Odd Couple: Bundling Print and Digital Books

Bundling Print and Digital Books = The odd coupleLast week, after my observation that Waterstones is not in a better position to offer bundling now than it was last year, I had a brief debate on Twitter about pros and cons of bundling print and digital during which someone (oh so rightly) asked the question: ‘do customers even want an eBook version of the printed novel they just bought?’ This led to a couple of posts, and Sam Missingham brought out some numbers over on the Futurebook blog from a survey done with 4,000 customers 9 months ago. Here’s a summary:

Continue Reading 3 Comments

It’s good to talk: How networking saved my book bacon

Jamie-Lee Nardone is Publicity Manager for Duckworth Publishers and is on Twitter: @JamieBookPR. She never turns down a glass of red or Ben’s cookie. Duckworth are always looking for people interested in work experience so feel free to get in touch:

Some might say I was a late bloomer when it comes to the publishing industry. At the tender age of 24, my eyes were opened to the world of book PR via a small pub event. As I began to mingle, I realised how much I enjoyed talking to everyone about things that I really cared about-rather than just smiling and nodding. At the time I was doing work experience in events and paying the rent by working in a dog grooming salon. Nevertheless, I thought that I could reignite my childhood passion for reading (I was a proper bookworm) and combine it with talking a lot, meeting people and chin-wagging over a glass or two of vino. Subsequently, I decided to hound a Publicity Director I’d met-and three weeks later started working for her and never looked back.

That was just over two years ago, and now I am fortunate to have a job I love, great colleagues and friends I have made in my short career, alongside a swift education in social media. I get to meet amazing authors, journalists and fellow publishing folk, and despite the taboo subject of pay (publishing is notorious for this), I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Admittedly no expert on employment and a relative newcomer myself, here are my personal top tips for getting into book PR.

Continue Reading No Comments

The literary critic: an endangered species?

This a guest post from Simon Appleby, who runs Bookswarm, a digital agency specialising in work for authors, agents and publishers – services including e-book design, website and blog design, author videos and more. He’s also a director of AMS Digital Publishing, which runs a number of online marketing channels for publishers, including and, and operates the Real Readers review generation service. He’s a hands-on computer geek and a prolific reader and reviewer of books via the blog that he founded in 2008,

Everyone’s a critic

The web, and not least Amazon’s customer review functionality, has been blamed for the demise (or at least the endangered species status) of the professional literary critic. There’s not doubt that the amount of space in the national press given over to books is less than ever, and the number of literary editors has diminished too. Needless to say, the whole newspaper market is changing and shrinking, thanks to this Internet thingummy. So, Bookmachiners, I ask you – is this such a bad thing?

I have a weird dual perspective on this issue…

Continue Reading 7 Comments

Revisiting elearning in the Web 2.0 age

Anna Faherty
Anna Faherty is a writer, editor and lecturer in publishing.

A decade or more ago, elearning was heralded by many as the panacea to organisational training needs. The reality? It didn’t live up to the hype. Elearning was too often just a bunch of files uploaded to a website or learning management system; unhappy eye-strained learners read reams of text on screen. Today technology has moved on, and elearning can finally deliver what most learners really want: personalised, interactive, social and mobile learning experiences. So, for anyone who still thinks elearning is dull, disappointing or dead in the water, here are eight tips to debunk your views.

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Retailer Plus Social Reading Equals: What Game Is Anobii Playing?

If, like me, you spend a lot of time on the internet (like… y’know… enough to clock when adverts change on the same web pages) you will probably have noticed the intense ramping up of aNobii activity across all digital channels recently. In the past two months, their online advertising reached the level of intense saturation usually reserved for dating websites – displaying as gates on pirated videos before you watch them, weird sidebar ad placement on forums, promoted tweets, heaps of whacky Pinterest boards… and so on.

So given the company launched in 2006, why now?

Continue Reading 5 Comments

Do Publishers Expect Authors To Market Themselves?

Last week I over-read someone on Twitter saying that ‘Trad pub expect authors to do most marketing these days’. I jumped in with my contrarian point of view, as ever the self-righteous asshole, trying to disguise the fact that I was windmilling my fists by using an even tone. Thankfully, that particular conversation didn’t leave either participant with long-term injuries. But it did get me thinking: do publishing houses ask authors to do too much?

Continue Reading 4 Comments

Five Things to Rethink About Children’s Non-Fiction


This is a guest post from Margaret Eckel, who is a freelance PR Co-ordinator. You can find her on Linkedin.

My love of children’s literature is what inspired me to pursue a career in publishing. Until now I’ve devoted most of my attention to fiction titles, but, since attending Booktrust’s seminar The World into Words: why reading non-fiction is vital for children, I am seriously rethinking my own relationship to children’s non-fiction. And, after listening to children’s non-fiction authors Viv French and Nicola Davies and children’s librarian Jake Hope share their insights, I think the industry as a whole may need to as well.

Continue Reading No Comments

Can Audio Books Be Cool?

I’m not going to lie – I’ve always thought audio books were lame as hell.  The disappointing nephew of the hardback; the ugly duckling of the literary landscape. They bring back memories of long car rides to boring towns when my mum would put on a tape of some Victorian period drama read by an artist’s rendering of Jane Austen. Invariably I would hear half of it and then miss some and then hear some more of it and the leaps in narrative would piss me off and the English accent would clash with the Australian landscape, and the cases for the tapes were ugly and would get under my feet  – a car accident waiting to happen. 

Continue Reading 9 Comments

Get BookMachine in your inbox